Celebrate the Good Days

Celebrate the Good Days

From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul

Celebrate the Good Days

Look to your health; and if you have it, praise God, and value it next to a good conscience; for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of; a blessing that money cannot buy.

Izaak Walton

Cancer. It sends chills up my spine as I say it. A six-letter word causes so much pain. I didn’t think it would happen to anyone that I knew, until it happened to my mom.

It was in April of what seemed to be a great year. I was in fourth grade with the greatest teacher, Miss DeRosear. It was the year everyone looked forward to because Miss D. was the coolest teacher.

I had just come home from school to find Mom at home. That was odd because she never arrived home before me. Mom was sitting on the couch with Dad. A thousand horrible things started flashing through my mind. What if Grandma had passed away? I did not have the chance to say goodbye. What if my brother was hurt?

As I crawled up on the couch next to Mom, she gave me a kiss and a huge smile, so I relaxed and went on with my normal after-school activities. During the TV show that I always watched after school, Mom started getting phone calls. The calls continued for the rest of the night. Each time the phone rang, Mom rushed to her room. I then knew that something bad had happened.

When Mom came back, I asked, “Mom, why do you keep on leaving the room every time you get a phone call?”

She turned to my sister and me and said, “Girls, I have something to tell you. I have a disease that will make me very sick. I have cancer.”

As she said that I felt a sharp pain in my heart. I was thinking, Why is God taking my mom from me so soon? What have I done? Little did I know that we were just beginning a very long, painful journey.

The next day on the bus I turned to my friend, Kate. “My mom . . .” That was all I could say before I started crying. Kate gave me a big hug and whispered, “I know, and I’m here for you.” I knew then that Kate would support me.

As other people found out about my mom’s cancer, they all had different ways of dealing with it. When my grandma found out about it, she had a difficult time, because to her, cancer was a death sentence. She had lost her husband, my grandfather, to cancer when my mom was only a senior in high school.

Then the time came for Mom to have chemotherapy. Her hair fell out, and she was always sick. I remember all those nights that she was too tired to eat, or she was sick from the chemotherapy.

During the summer, Mom stayed home. On the good days, Mom, Sis and I went down by the pond and made shapes out of clouds. On these days we talked about what we were going to do the next day, week, month or year with Mom. We never talked about losing her.

Support came from many different people and places. When school started again, Mom had to have surgery. I stayed with one of my teachers, Mrs. Stephens. Mrs. Stephens made me rainbow French toast. It always made me feel better: it let me know that someone cared and made time to make something for me. I would feed it to the dog if I had too much or if I wanted the dog to feel good also. Mrs. Stephens was always there for me with a smile, a hug or “it will be okay” advice.

Sometimes I lost hope, wondering, Am I losing my mother just like she lost her father? I spent hours just ranting at God, telling him that he could not take her away! I needed her! He just could not take her away!

After a long six months of losing her hair and throwing up because of chemo, my mom took a turn for the better. She slowly started to recover.

On April 5, 1999, my mom became a five-year survivor. When that day came, we had a big party. Friends came from far and wide to celebrate how special Mom is and her victory against cancer!

If you know someone who has cancer, you can help by doing little things. You can stay with them for a while and just chat or do some chores.

Dealing with cancer is so hard. Don’t bottle up your feelings. Talk to someone. Chat rooms are available for kids dealing with cancer, and support groups help kids and teens deal with cancer, too. Do not give up!

There will be good days and bad days—some more bad than good. But as I have learned from my mother, celebrate the good days!

Leslie Beck, fourteen

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