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Life or Death

By , South Elgin, IL
Some of my earliest memories are of my grandmother and me. I had always thought about her being here for my high school graduation, my wedding, and every other important milestone I may face. That fantasy was shattered by the news that she had cancer.

Growing up, I spent many a weekend at my grandma’s house. We made cookies and bread from scratch, something my mom never did. Being the only grandchild that still qualified as an actual child, I lapped up all the attention I got from her. Of course, as an only child I had my parents’ attention too, but they also had to discipline me, my grandmother’s only concern was loving me unconditionally.

By the time I was in high school, my grandma had moved in with my aunt and uncle, not out of necessity but just to make her life easier. I still went to stay with her during school breaks. Even though I could tell she was getting older, and in the back of my mind knew that she wasn’t going to live for eternity, I always focused on the now.


During one of these trips, she was having trouble seeing out of one eye and had made an appointment to see her doctor. While everyone around me kept talking about how it was probably nothing these reassurances had the opposite of the desired effect. I felt more worried and conscious of everything my grandmother did. A few weeks after the visit I came home from working and was told that my parents had some ‘news’ to tell me. My grandma had been to several doctors appointments since the initial one about her eyesight and while that was no longer an issue, another thing was. They had found a spot on her lung that, as I later found out, was cancer.

My parents said we could talk about the news after dinner, but I couldn’t eat, I was so anxious to hear what was happening. When they told me that she had cancer, I was numb for a long time. Since I didn’t see her as often as I once did, it was easy to put it out of my mind. As I realized that this wasn’t something I could run from, I was forced to deal with the harsh realities of life. I didn’t always deal with the emotions of possibly losing my grandmother in a good way. I let my grades slip even more than they already were and frankly didn’t even really care anymore.

I finally forced myself to get up in the morning and do better in my life. While it seemed that my life was collapsing around me, I knew that I had to stick it out no matter how hard it got. My whole high school career has been a test of my strength and perseverance, but these months in particular proved to be the hardest of my entire life. I am more determined than ever to fulfill my hopes and dreams and not let anything get in the way.





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