Kristina - Lake Bluff, Illinois
Entered on September 28, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I truly believe that events in my life, and other’s lives, make us who we are, and if a life changing event happens, like death, they change us for the better, and make us stronger. This essay, though, is not about me and any events in my life, but about my best friend, Lauren, whose mother died when she was only 13 years old, and how she immediately took control of her life and re-evaluated it, making herself a better person in the process.

Before I met Lauren, her mother, Lynn, died of cancer in 2001, leaving Lauren to take up the responsibilities that were left by her. Lynn, who was a building block of the family, was an amazing woman who was loved by an entire community, and whose death affected many. But no one could have been affected more than Lauren, who often shares incidents about her mother with me, had found a best friend in her mom, and had learned many things from her.

In her house, Lauren has become the cook and the maid, taking on many different chores along with keeping an excellent 5.5 GPA in school, being apart of NHS, and belonging to many different clubs, including one that helps kids at the middle school, by bringing over tutors from the High School. She does more than anyone I know, and is still the sweetest person I have ever met. She is everyone’s mother, in a 17 year olds body.

One specific time that I remember when Lauren was there for me, was when my family and I were having some difficult family issues. Lauren, who practically is apart of our family as it is, would continually come over and give her viewpoint, often bringing along with her a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, or lemon poppy seed bread. She would continually comfort me about these things, though there was no way that they could have been nearly as bad as what she went through. Also, if ever there happens to be a time when there is no food at my house (which miraculously is often), I have only to call her up and let her know that I am on my way over, and once I get there, I can always expect food on the table for me. She takes care of me whenever I need her to be, whether it is something as small as dinner, or as big as family issues. I can always count on her to be there.

People always seem to feel awkward around her, often afraid of speaking of mothers in front of her, as if doing that would send her into some kind of breakdown. They ask me things about her and if she ever needed to see a psychologist, but on the contrary, Lauren never needed to through any of that, taking the strength that she has, and generously sharing it with the world.

Because of how much I have learned about Lauren and these past events that have happened to her, I truly believe that when someone has something so life changing happen to them, they become a stronger person, making the world stronger in the process.