June 23, 2008
By Chad Stover, Tecumseh, ZZ

I looked into the eyes of my little sister, she didn’t understand. Why had this happened to us? She didn’t know, neither did I. Mom was laying in her casket, with a smile on her face as she usually did, no matter how mad, sad or upset she was, always with a smile stuck on her face. Little Sammy had looked at the casket, she couldn’t see inside, thankfully. She thought everyone was gathering for her birthday, it was just yesterday. Today was actually the day her party was suppose to be. I had to call of the parents last night to tell them of the circumstances, they are all behind me, talking solemnly to one another. They don’t know my pain, they think they can just come for the afternoon and leave, they can go back to their regular lives, but me and Sammy have to live on without our mother.

“How are you guys doing?” my father came up and grabbed my shoulder, I shrugged it off and walked away from him, he looked upset with me, I don’t care, he doesn’t know what I’m going through right now. He didn’t love mom, I did, so did Sammy.
“Anne-Elle!” Sammy called, it’s what she called me. My name’s Chantelle but it’s kind of hard for a three year old to pronounce that.
“What Sammy?” I answer back. She comes up and hugs my leg. Sorry, a four year old, since yesterday.
“Birthday time now?” she stared at me with her soft, gleeful eyes.
I battered my eye lashes, the mascara was very annoying. I wanted to start crying, I hadn’t all day, I wasn’t about to start now, that’s for sure. “Yeah Sammy, we can have a birthday party now. Let’s sing together.”
“Happy birthday to me!” Sammy started off with a bang. I couldn’t sing, my vocal chords closed up and my throat began to squeeze until no air could escape my body nor could any air come in.
“Chantelle!” was the last thing I heard.
“Where-where-am-I?” I opened her eyes and saw a white brick wall in front of me. I looked down at myself and saw hospital sheets and sadly enough, I am wearing some sort of hospital gown.
“You’re in the hospital silly!” a voice was heard. I redirected my attention to the girl.
“Why am I in…” I was cut short.
“You’re a very lucky girl-Chantelle-is it?”
“You got it!” I smirked.
“Well Chantelle, you’re tests are back and lucky for you, you get to go home in a few days.” the nurse said with a smile. She looked at the bed next to her to see the little girl’s gleaming face and smiled and waved to her.
“I have to stay here for two days! My mom just died, I want to go home and see my sister!” I yelled. Nobody cares about me or what I have gone through, they should feel sorry for me and want to help. My voice didn’t make an impact because my vocal chords were still numb.
“Please don’t yell, that’s the reason you’re in here, because of throat problems,” the nurse explained. She walked over to my bed and looked at me from many points of view. “Maybe you could make it out tomorrow, if you stop yelling of course,” the nurse winked.
I was still unimpressed., “Fine, whatever. My life stinks you know? Now I’m probably going to fail my test, my sister will be worrying, I can’t grieve properly for my mom here and dad will get upset over the hospital bill. I’ll have to pay him back with my savings account, I didn’t choose to come here!” I wanted to scream, I was just about to but I stopped abruptly when I started to feel dizzy. I shut my eyes and suddenly I felt human again, weird.
“Well I have to see other patients, bye Chantelle, bye Lucy,” the nurse waved to each me then the girl beside me.
I looked over at the girl, she looked a few years younger with many flaws, just on her face. One was her unusually large nose, second, she had loads of acne and third, her eyes were too far apart.
“Hi Chantelle, I’m Lucy if you didn’t get that already,” she smirked.
“How can you smile in this place? It’s so horrible,” I frowned, I closed my eyes while waiting for a response. I just couldn’t stand looking at her face, it was that bad.
“This place is great! I love it here, it’s a lot nicer than back home,” Lucy smiled, she looked around the room with hopeful eyes, she glared at the flowering flowers.
“What’s so bad about your home?” I questioned, I knew it couldn’t be worst than my life, my mother is dead for crying out loud.
“Well, me, my five brothers and my six sisters all live in an apartment. We have to have six kids in one room, we have triple bunks and I’m always on the lowest bunk, some say I’m a pushover, the third bunk is on the ground, the padding is the lowest and hardest, it’s not very nice,” I looked at her with unsure eyes, I knew there had to be more to the story, who the heck likes hospitals anyway?
“Is that it?” I questioned.
“Oh, no, it isn’t. My mother left us kids because she couldn’t handle all of us and just recently my father left as well, to meet up with mother. He promised that when he found mother, he would bring her back to us, he hasn’t come back yet, I don’t think he ever will,” Lucy did not smile, she did not frown, her face as frozen as stone.
“So all you kids live alone, in two rooms?” I thought of back home. I have my own room, a double mattress, my own desk, my own computer, my own large walk-in-closet, I’m spoiled.
“Yes, it’s quite cozy, I even get to keep all my clothes on my own bed so that none of my sisters will make a mistake and take something that belongs to me. None of us have gotten new clothes in the past couple of years anyway, it’s for the best really. Who wants to waste new material?” Lucy thought of only the positive, I thought of only the negative.
“So why are you here?” I quizzed.
“Well, my big brother needs a kidney. He had kidney cancer ever since he was a kid, it was just a few days ago when they took out one of his kidney’s and then tomorrow they’re taking out his other one. The doctor asked each of us who was willing to give up their kidney and I raised my hand. So here I am,” she smiled.
Wow, what a brave and positive soul, I thought.
“Emily was going to give one of hers as well so that Alex could have both his kidneys but she got scared walking here,” Lucy smiled.
I gave her a blank look. I didn’t know what to say to such a Jesus-like figure, so I started with, “You’re amazing. I have taken my life for granted and as soon as something went wrong in my near-perfect life I find it necessary to complain like crazy. I envy you’re perfect-ness. I want to be you!”
Lucy smiled, she got up from her bed and walked over to me. She sat down right beside my bed and put her arm around my shoulder. She looked at me with her hopeful and happy eyes and said, “Anyone can be like me, you just have to care enough. Be grateful for what you have and make the most out of your life on earth. If you‘re going through a tough time, hang in because life can only get better.”
“Thanks,” I replied.
“What’s wrong Sammy?” I asked. Dad and Sammy had come to pick me up. As soon as I stepped into the car I saw Sammy’s tear filled eyes, my sister understood what had happened two days ago, I just know it.
“Mommy’s gone Anne-Elle. She isn’t coming back. I don’t want to live without mommy, I want mommy back Anne-Elle, I want mommy back,” Sammy screamed with inner pain. I could feel her sadness and I wanted to give her some happiness.
“I’ve stopped worrying about Mommy, Sammy, she’s in a better place. Life goes on, we have a great life with dad, he loves us very much,” I reassured.
“I wish I was like you Anne-Elle, you make it seem so easy to stop thinking about mommy,” Sammy cried, she didn’t scream, she was silent.
“Wait dad,” I told him before he started the vehicle, I opened my door and got out, walked to the back and sat right beside Sammy, I put my arm around her shoulders and looked her in the eye with hopeful and happy eyes and said, “Anyone can be like me, you just have to care enough. Be grateful for what you have and make the most out of your life on earth. If you‘re going through a tough time, hang in because life can only get better.”

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