Ashley - Woolwich Twp., New Jersey
Entered on November 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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“Shhh it’s a Surprise!” … read the yellow and light blue baby shower invitation. My neighbor’s niece who I had gone to school with in elementary was having a baby. It was hard for me to fathom that Laura was actually going to have a baby, mostly because she was only a year older then me, and I couldn’t imagine being pregnant at this time in my life. Having a baby is suppose to be incredibly exciting, but her mom for the past couple years had been battling breast cancer. Despite what doctors told Norma, she continued to keep her hopes high, and she did everything in her power to try and beat the disease. The day of the baby shower presents were stacked, food was delicious, and Laura was completely shocked. When it came time to open gifts it brought tears to my eyes, a loving mother and soon to be grandmother sitting next to her expecting daughter. What was suppose to be a joyous time was not because Norma’s balding head, thin frame, and jaundice complexion reminded everyone of the cancer that was taking a toll on her. I couldn’t comprehend how Laura could be so gracious for the gifts and wear such a big smile when she knew her mother was dying. After this day I will forever believe in the importance of appreciation.

I never realized how precious each day is, and I give thanks to Norma for that because no matter how much bad news she received she never let that stop her from living each day to the fullest. If a woman in her late forties with fatal cancer and an expecting daughter can continue to laugh, smile, and be optimistic then I sure as hell can ignore high school drama, put a smile on my face when I have get out of bed for school, and tell everyone important in my life I love them because I just don’t know what the future holds. I’m not afraid anymore of not ending up where I envision myself because now I know that everyone controls their own destiny. Norma may not have chosen cancer, but she chose to not let it consume her. The night of the baby shower, Laura went into labor two months early. The premature baby boy was healthy and well, but two weeks later Norma passed away. I appreciate my health, my family, and the life I was given, and never will again take any of it for granted.