"I have cancer."
The three word, four syllable bombshell echoes throughout my body, wreaking complete and utter havoc; My life as I knew it now completely flipped upside down.
Repeated shrieks of despair pierce the living room walls. My broad vocabulary for a thirteen year old instantly limited to the mere word "what?!". In a split second my carefree mind is swarmed with confusion, angriness, and devastation unable to grasp my mother's statement.
Impossible. Inconceivable. Not cancer. Not my mom.
Long, grueling days pass as I try to come to terms with the situation. I knew I had to find a way to somehow make my mom's journey a little easier. But what could be done? The answer came in the form of paper. Paper cranes.
As I sit in my bedroom trying to sort out my thoughts, I am brought back to third grade when I recall a teacher at my school had also been diagnosed with breast cancer. The staff at my school had decided to teach us about a Japanese legend which was later turned into a book, "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes". This retelling of the story of Sadako Sasaki, took place at the time of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima. We learned that Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia from the radiation and spent her time in the hospital folding origami paper cranes in hopes of making a thousand of them. As the legend went, one who created one thousand origami cranes would be granted a wish. Sadako's wish was simply to live.
One thousand paper cranes. I was passionate and determined to do this for my mother. Regardless of how long, how hard, or how tiring it would be I knew I was going to complete it because my parents certainly didn't raise a quitter. So it began. I folded like there was no tomorrow, pouring my blood, sweat, and tears into each crane. Much more than two dimensional pieces of paper, my cranes served as an outlet for expression, allowing me to defuse my sadness and anger- to display to my mom the feelings so intense and so real that I was unable to formulate into words. Soon enough heaps of cranes occupied my bedroom floor, becoming much more than a legend but serving as hope and proof that not only would my mom overcome the disease but that I was capable of anything I set my mind to. I wouldn't stop until I reached one thousand, I couldn't. I had always been taught to finish what I started, my parents would not let me give up on anything. At the time I didn't understand their rationale but now looking back on it with a fresh and mature set of eyes I'm thankful. This motto I now live by has pushed me to delve deeper than I've ever had to before, to reach deep from within myself and muster all the courage I have to push on. It has molded me into the persistent person I am and served as a standard at which I hold myself to.
As I look back on the thousand cranes I folded for my mother I do so with a deep sense of pride and gratitude. I applaud myself on the graciousness I have proven to exude in the face of adversity and the hope I can extract from even the worst situations. Life is bound to throw me more curveballs and I'm eager to take each setback in life and use it to mold me into a better person, student, friend, and colleague. I'm a firm believer that there is always room to grow and college is the perfect opportunity for me to be tested beyond my limits. Life is unpredictable and that's what makes it so thrilling. Too many people are scared of the unknown, I however embrace it and look forward to it.