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The Eyes of My Soul MAG
“You look different,” I tell my mirror image. I've just taken the sheet off the mirror in my room. It's been a week since I've seen my reflection, and I can't figure out why I don't recognize the image that stares back at me. I peer at the green eyes watching my every move. They don't have the innocent, naive look I remember. They look world-weary, scared, sad. They look like they've seen the worst the world can offer before having seen the best. This thought reminds me why I look so different.
My eyes seem to take me back to ninth grade, when it started. I remember the last Passover before my mother was diagnosed. I spent the whole day before cooking while she lay in bed, talking to the doctor. I remember the week after Passover my parents told us that the treatments would make my mother sick, but no one wanted to tell us what she was sick with.
My mind fast-forwards to the day I found out she had cancer. I figured it out during Hebrew class, and I somehow knew I was right. I cried for the rest of the day, and that night my father confirmed my fears.
In tenth grade I remember the bone-marrow transplant she underwent. I remember the fear I felt as my father spent nights in the hospital and we spent nights with people sleeping on our couch.
I remember the elation of remission that lasted seven months, the fear that came with the diagnosis the second time around, and the hope that somehow everything would turn out okay.
The rest of the ten months passed in a blur. I vaguely remember the fainting, the six-week hospital stay, the frequent, violent emotional outbursts that were a result of the chemotherapy and the steroids. I remember the winter vacation in Seattle with my mother in the hospital, and I remember the second bone-marrow transplant that never happened.
I remember the last three weeks of my mother's life in a hospital bed, the terrible week when shiva had not been allowed, and the actual horrifying week of shiva.
For the first time since shiva began, tears come to my eyes. Why not? They're a portal straight into my soul. I've just relived the past two horrifying years in five seconds, and all I can do is cry as I finish taking the sheets off all the mirrors in the house.
I can hear my father on the phone downstairs, telling another person that we don't need food. I've been doing the cooking for the past two years and I've done a pretty good job. Why would we start needing food now?
My tears start again as I realize that this will continue to be my job, as well as the cleaning, the homework help, the laundry, and everything else I've been doing since this began. A voice in my head tells me that it isn't fair, but another assures me that I wouldn't have been given this test if it weren't meant for me.
So all I can do is take the last sheet off the mirror and ask my ferociously green eyes what they have to offer me about the new person I've become. I see within them a person who is improved by the challenges she has faced. I see someone who is more sensitive, kind, and caring. I see someone whose lifelong goal of going into medicine is only helped by this compassion and newfound way of relating to future patients. I can see my future and, unlike my past, it's as bright as futures come.