This I Believe

Amy - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 25, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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“This I Believe”

When I was in fifth grade my dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is cancer of the lymphatic system. I will never forget the day when my parents sat me down and told me the news; that day is permanently ingrained in my mind.

I was watching television that Saturday afternoon when my parents came into the room. Their grave faces had “family meeting” written all over them. Such somber expressions contrasted the rather pleasant moods I witnessed earlier in the day. Their sudden and somewhat random change in disposition immediately had me concerned. Once they told me the news, I was shocked, to say the least. In my mind cancer was something that happened to other people but never to anyone I knew, let alone my father. He had always been the rock, the solid foundation that I could always rely on in my life. I never imagined that my foundation, my security, would ever be threatened, especially at such a young age.

The situation I was thrown into forced me to grow up quickly. I had to learn to be less dependent upon my father for help and start to be there for him much more often. Whenever he had a new treatment of chemotherapy, I did my best to help him recover. Whether it was getting him anything he needed or just letting him rest, something instinctively made me mature. Seeing my father in such a condition really put things in perspective. I no longer thought that having the cutest clothes or knowing what happened last night on my favorite TV show was the most important thing in life. His cancer made me see the bigger picture, envision my life beyond the present moment, and realize what I valued most in life, the moments I share with the ones I love. From then on I began taking things more seriously. Otherwise ordinary moments became distinctive memories I cherished. I began to appreciate time spent with my family because the possibility of it being gone always lurked in the back of my mind.

I believe to value life and to treasure every moment, because you never appreciate what you have until you have to start living without it.

Living with this belief during such a difficult period really helped to make life easier. It enabled me to focus on the positive aspects in life rather than dwelling on the negative. I do believe that treasuring every moment is essential to enjoying life to the fullest. In my opinion, that is the best way to live.