Life is Like an Hourglass

Meredith - Missouri City, Texas
Entered on October 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

“Just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do. I believe that life is like an hourglass and when you hit rock bottom you just have to wait for it to be turned around again.” –unknown

Unlike millions of other quotes that relate to love and friendship, this one actually makes sense to me. On January 9th, 2007, my mom lost her battle to melanoma, resulting in my loss of her.

When I was in first grade, my mom was diagnosed with melanoma, a deadly type of skin cancer, on her calf. At the age of 6, I learned all about cancer and M.D Anderson. Unfortunately, the place was not that great, but my mom’s doctor, Merrick Ross, was. I had found a new friend that was old enough to be my dad, yet communicated with me like one of my friends from the first grade.

The first surgery was not successful, so three more that year followed, all for something that just looked like a freckle. Along with the many surgeries came a numerous amount of nurses that would show up at the house two times a day, every day.

In third grade everything seemed to be going good again. The fourth surgery had worked and besides the fact that the possibility my mom would be on crutches for the rest of her life was very great, things were almost perfect. The cancer did not stop her from volunteering at my school, scrap booking, taking trips to Disney World with me, shopping, or doing just about anything else. It was as if nothing had ever happened. For the next five years things were great.

Then came the bad news at the end of eighth grade. The cancer had reappeared on the same leg, but this time, it was on the side of her knee. Throughout the entire summer, she went through endless rounds of chemotherapy, causing her to loose her hair. Even with everything happening, she did not let it break her spirit. On December 13th, 2007, she went into M.D Anderson at 7:30 A.M for surgery to remove it, once again. Every single night after that, I was there visiting her.

Right before they released her, almost two weeks later but just in time to make it home for Christmas, they told me that the cancer had spread to her brain. I was in complete shock, not willing to believe that this was all happening. This was the kind of stuff that only happens in movies, not in real life and definitely not to me.

We met with one of the best brain surgeons in the country and scheduled another surgery for the 5th of January, but because of his vacation schedule, were forced to move it to the 9th. On the night of the 7th, my mom began mentioning that she had a really bad headache. My dad and I thought that it was just a reaction to the medicine or something, but when it started getting worse, we began to worry and I immediately had an instinct that I knew what was happening. She started loosing consciousness and as soon as that happened we called 911. They could not get her into M.D Anderson right away, so we were forced to go to the Sugar land Methodist hospital, where they did a cat scan and found that the tumor had shifted, putting pressure on her brain, causing it to swell.

Before I knew it, I was in the front seat of an ambulance at 2 in the morning, speeding to M.D Anderson for an emergency surgery. I’ll never forget that night that I spent attempting to sleep in the waiting room while they were doing one of the most complicated surgeries on one of the most complicated cases they had ever seen. The next day felt like an eternity, just sitting around waiting for the outcome.

My mom had made it through the surgery, but wasn’t responsive to anything. The last few minutes I had with her were with her hooked up to what seemed like hundreds of wires and machines that were constantly beeping. I was sitting in the hallway in a chair while everyone was in the room, when Dr. Ross came by and just sat with me. We both knew what was happening in there, but I could not bring myself to go in. I had said what I needed to say. There was nothing left to do but pray, and unfortunately, that did not work. At 10:27 A.M on January 9th, 2007, my mother, Vivien , went to a better place.

I believe that everything does happen for a reason, good or bad. I believe that what does not kill you makes you stronger. And I believe that you have to live each day like it is your last because you never know what lies ahead of you. With the help of my friends, family, and church, I have definitely become a stronger person and appreciate everything much more than I ever did before. I believe that no matter what happens, you just have to keep your head up, never loose your faith, and wait for things to turn around, just like an hourglass.