Overcoming the Biggest Battle

December 16, 2009
Overcoming the Biggest Battle

At 5'-4" my mom is not a very big person, but she does have a very big life story. My mom, Barb, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and when she was born, she was given up for adoption. At the age of 6 months, she was adopted and taken into a family of a brother, a sister and two loving parents. As a kid growing up, Barb never really understood why her birth mother didn’t want her, but now as an adult she understands better that her mother only ever wanted her to have a better life than she was capable of providing her with. My mom always thought that her birth mother's decision to give her up for adoption was a very selfish decision, but she now realizes that it was very selfless of her birth mother to give her a better life than she would have received had she kept her. My mom is a hero because she always focuses on the bright side of things, she gives so much without asking for much in return, and she overcame breast cancer with the right attitude.

My mom is my hero for many reasons. First of all, no matter how bad things start to get for her, she always finds and focuses on the little good that comes out of the situation. For example, when her dad, John, died, she didn't look at it as if she would never get to see him again, she focused on the fact that she got to spend her life with him and especially the past eight years with him. My grandfather, I knew him as "Doc", was overweight and a heavy smoker. He averaged smoking two packs a day, until his first heart attack, which was when my mom was in seventh grade. When he was fifty-nine he had his second heart attack, and the doctors gave him less than a five percent chance of surviving. In fact his heart doctor said it would be a miracle if he lived for more than five years. Eight years later, when he did die from a third heart attack, my mom was sad, but she also felt extremely grateful and blessed to have been able to spend that last eight years with him. "It was so important to me that Doc got the chance to know you and Brandon, that he lived long enough to enjoy his grandkids." - Barb Neumann

The second reason that my mom is my hero is because she does so much and asks for so little in return. An example of this happened just last trimester. During the soccer season, my mom volunteered to take pictures of all of the home soccer games and some of the away games, then she said that she would put all of the pictures into an end of season power point, along with making a disk for each player of their individual pictures from the season. She was at almost all of the C-team, JV, and Varsity games, sun or rain, taking pictures. After every game, and for many days after, she would go home, sit at her laptop for hours, and edit the pictures she took. Then, when the end of the season came around, she spent every waking second putting all of the pictures into a slideshow in the hope that she would be able to finish in time. She finished the slideshow with only a day or two until the party, which gave her just enough time to go to the school and help set up everything for the end-of-season party. When the party was over, she had probably spent a grand total of around 80 hours or more getting everything prepared, yet seeing the appreciation from the players and parents, especially the "Senior's" parents was all of the thanks that she needed for her efforts.

The third, and most important reason that my mom is a hero is that she overcame a life-threatening disease without getting mad or depressed. She went into the process with the belief that if everyone supported her during the year, she would make it through. My mom made it through a disease that many people die from; therefore, she made it through something that many people can't and don't want to go through. My mom overcame breast cancer. On January 16, 2008, my mom received the worst news of her life. It was confirmed that she had breast cancer. My mom couldn't believe that she had such a life-threatening disease. Luckily, my mom knew that she had very supportive friends and family and that she would be able to make it through this tough time. My dad, Dan, stuck by her side the whole time, which unfortunately some spouses don't do. Many friends were constantly bringing over food for us to eat, and asking what more they could do to help, but my mom always said the same thing, "Just pray for me to get better soon, and I will make it through this." Eventually, after going through many operations and numerous rounds of chemotherapy, my mom finally made it through the sickness with her life. She couldn't ask for any more than that. She said "You always find blessings in difficult situations, and the love received from friends and family far outweighed the difficulties faced during 2008".

The fact that my mom is very compassionate, respectful, religious, focuses on the bright side of things, overcame breast cancer, and always puts others before herself, makes her my hero. I couldn't have asked for a better mom than the one that I got. Now my mom always stands up for what she believes in, and she doesn't let people push her around like she did as a child. My mom is much like Odysseus, because they both had to fight some very tough battles, and they both fought the battles for the same reason.

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