Smile, Though Your Heart Is Aching

Heather - Fremont, Michigan
Entered on April 21, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

“Heather, I’m so sorry,” my brother David muttered as he held me, trying not to cry himself.

Right then I knew that I had lost one of my closest friends. I met him my freshman year of high school; he was a junior, and one of the coolest people I had ever met. There are many things that I learned from Rob, but I think the one thing that sticks out the most is that a smile can really brighten someone’s day, no matter how hard it has been for them. Whenever I was having a horrible day at school, or just with life in general, that smile made me look to the light, and it helped me to survive the rest of the day. I remember him singing me that one song, I think it was by Nat King Cole, but it went something like, “Smile, though your heart is aching. Smile even though it’s breaking…Smile, what’s the use of crying? You’ll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile.” Basically, I learned to smile, simply smile, because it can give anyone an ounce of faith. I wish I remembered that when he was going through his toughest time in life, because now that I think of it, it could have helped him through it and taken some of his pain away.

We found out the middle of his senior year that he had a brain tumor. His chance of survival was about 3%. Those seven months were probably the hardest months of my life, but did I smile at all? No, and I regret it every minute. Every time I saw him, he was always in his happy mood, even though the chemo was slowly draining his life away, which could be seen in his pale skin and his thinning hair. Seven months, and I couldn’t even get it through my head that all he needed was someone to smile at him, to tell him without words that it was going to be okay. July 3, 2006 came, and that night I decided to go see fireworks with my family, while he was in the hospital. That night was his last night.

The funeral came and everyone was crying, and they had the right to cry, because the world had lost an amazing person. It’s sad, because the one time that I actually took what Rob said to heart, was when he was no longer there to tell it to me. As I looked around the church at everyone’s teary faces, I sat there, and chasing back tears of my own, a smile took over my face.