This I Believe

Zitadel - La Puente, California
Entered on May 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death, family

Family tragedy may be regarded as the perfect opportunity for a positive learning experience. I was fifteen years old when my mother yielded her five-year battle with breast cancer, on November 19, 2004. I witnessed her degeneration, from the lively, upbeat wife and mother of two daughters, to her downward progression attributed to the cancer ravaging her body. At the moment of her death, all I was able to comprehend was that my mother, my dear friend and confidante, has ended her struggle and suffering here on Earth. It did not occur to me what possible consequences her death entailed, nor did the full effects of it hit me until a few months later.

I found hundreds of questions racing through my mind. What happens next? What am I going to do now? What changes will my family and I have to make? I promised myself to never sink into depression or let this tragedy become a hindrance in my life and in my future. I was grateful to have a great number of people around me, people of faith and of Christian values, who showed their support and concern for my family. With the love of friends and family, and by faithfully believing in the provisions and protection of God, I was able to rise above my sorrow and press onward.

My mother’s death has taught me several very important life lessons. Plunged into this circumstance, I had no choice but to adapt. Change is difficult, but necessary. For the first time, a harsh reality hit me; I neither have full control of my life, nor of the events which transpire around me. Her death brought me closer to God and deeper in faith, as I looked to Him for daily guidance and strength. With a seven-year old sister looking up to me, I learned to become more responsible and to take on multiple roles, not only being an older sister, but also a second mother to her. Several of my mother’s tasks now became my responsibility, and though it seems unfair and impossible at times, this adversity builds character. Having momentary lapses of negativity and cynicism, I gradually learned to retain a positive and optimistic outlook on life, against all odds and despite difficulty, a trait better learned early on, for in time, life will throw more challenges my way. I love my mother dearly, even to this very day, and her death opened my eyes to reality in a way it has never been exposed to before. This learning experience has been, by far, the most important I have had in my short sixteen years of life. Even in death, in tragedy, my mother is walking me through life’s most difficult lessons.