Why does my mom deserve something so horrible?
I didn’t want to believe that bad things happen to good people.
Six months into the chemotherapy treatment, my mom was a shell of who
she was before. She had lost all of her hair, was so skinny the wind
could blow her over, and her energy had evaporated. To cover her head
she tried everything from wigs to hats, to scarves. Nothing made her
feel beautiful, even though she was still full of beauty. Simple tasks
such as standing up and walking became difficult. I would have done
anything to take away some of her pain.
I think that was the hardest part for me—not being able to help the
woman who has helped me my entire life. I felt it was my job to fix
everything for her, but unfortunately I couldn’t do
that. Instead, I started taking her on walks around the neighborhood so
she could get some fresh
air. Through all of her aches and torment, her smile and positive
attitude never left her. She continued to try to cook and clean, and to
spend time with my dad and me.
On one of our daily walks, my mom turned to me and said, “I want to go
out and feed the homeless.”
“Right now?” I fumbled with my words; I couldn’t believe what I was
hearing. “Are you sure you can handle it? You can barely walk across
the room without getting nauseated.”
“Yes, we’ll go tomorrow.”
My mom chose to go to a young adult shelter. We helped prepare and
serve food to all the kids. It was a mind-blowing experience seeing how
my mom can put a smile on anyone’s face. I could tell that she was
struggling with her numbing headache, not only did she serve the food,
smiling all the while, she also helped clean up after the meal was
over. “Today is going to be a great day!” she’d say. She chose to put
the attention on these kids instead of herself.
“I like your hat,” or “Your hair looks beautiful like that,” my mom
would say to the teens. At first, no one wanted to open up. But after a
couple weeks they started making conversation back. One of the teens,
Emily, was the first to open up.
“Thank you for serving dinner,” Emily said timidly, hiding her face
behind her long brown hair.
“Of course!” my mom said excitedly. The next week, to my surprise many
more people started conversations. My mom and I always showed up early
to make sure there was everything that would be needed. Once we
arrived, a boy walked over to me.
“Does your mom have cancer?” he said swiftly. I was taken back. I
didn’t expect anyone to notice.
“Yes, she does. How did you know?” I stumbled, feeling my heart beat
faster. “My mom died of cancer when I was little.”
“I’m so sorry. No one should have to go through this.” I tried to hold
back any tears.
“It’s alright, it was a long time ago. What’s your name?”
“Hannah, what’s yours?”
“Aiden, It’s nice to meet you!” Aiden scurried away.
It had been a slow night, filled with interesting and new people I had
never seen before. I couldn’t get Aiden and his mom out of my head, What if my mom was going to die? After packing up our stuff, I
looked over to see my mom talking to Aiden. I strolled over to tell her
we were all read/to leave, hoping to catch part of their conversation.
“I’m sorry you have cancer, ma’am. My morn died when I was young. I hope
you get through this.”
I had never heard anyone talk to my mom like this before. My stomach tied
itself in knots that couldn’t be undone. I didn’t know whether to run to
her side, snatch her away from Aiden or to allow this difficult
conversation to happen. Instead, I just stood, mute.
“I do too. I’m sorry about your mom. You’re a very strong young man to have
through such a struggle and to still be standing here today.”
I left in a rush, not wanting to listen one second longer.
Every Sunday for the next two months, my morn and I went to the shelter. I
could see that she was making a difference not only in other people’s
lives, but in her own. My mom took a horrible situation and turned it into
something beautiful. She continued talking with Aiden, and several more
kids from the shelter. Week after week I felt less bitter about her having
cancer. I learned that talking about our struggles makes us stronger
It was difficult for me to talk about my mom’s cancer because I didn’t
Putting others before herself made her a more positive person, even with
the cancer. Seeing her rise with serenity and grace above her situation
made me want to do the same with my life.
Two years later she is in remission, but for the rest of my life I will
always remember how unselfish my mom is. She will forever be my wonder