Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. It was truly the day that changed my life.
The morning started out like any other. I look forward to talking to my parents and I called them around mid-morning from the Student Center at FDU. I could not help but feel a little surprised after I was told to call back in an hour, though. Initially, I shrugged it off to the fact that I might not have called at the most opportune time to chat and didn’t think much of it. But as I look back on the whole ordeal now, it made total sense. Little did I know, the biggest bombshell of my life was about to be dropped on me.
I called back in an hour and was still looking forward to talking to my parents.
“I have some good news and bad news,” said my mom.
An uneasy feeling quickly formed in my stomach at those words as I talked to my mom on my iPhone as I sat on a couch in the Student Center. My heart rate soon elevated. I could only begin to wonder what was going with my mom, since I had called several times over the last couple of weeks and no one had been home. Call it a sixth sense, but it was as if I already knew that something really bad was going on…
But then she dropped the bombshell on me: she has Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Tears then trickled down my face as I practically stopped breathing. It may sound cliché but it was as if the world came to a complete halt. Nothing else really mattered at that moment, besides what Mom was talking about.
The good news? The fact that my mother’s oncologist was hopeful and confident about the treatment since her oncologist thought that treatment was worth it. That was of some comfort since at least my mom had a better prognosis than some people who have cancer.
My mother then started going on about talking about her cancer and how she has already gone through one round of chemotherapy. But in all honesty, I don’t really remember much of the specifics of what she said since I was still in awe about what had just been revealed.
Tears continued to trickle down my face throughout my conversation with my mom. I just didn’t know what to say. Obviously, even if I didn’t understand what it was like to be a cancer patient since I wasn’t the one that was ill, aside from the fact that I believed in her and I was rooting for her, I was at a complete loss for words. I supposed that was okay though since I would usually be the chatty one, and my mother was the one who needed to vent for once. But by the end of the conversation the shock was still there.
It was truly as if I had kept getting punched before I even had the chance to get back up.
That’s the thing, though. Sure, most people have their best friends, but there’s a superficial element to the standard, “How are you doing?” / “I’m fine thanks,” question and answer with your less well-known acquaintances. Because the fact is a lot of people have probably encountered that scenario numerous times, and truth be told, people have probably answered dishonestly. I know I’m definitely guilty of doing that.
So just think as you’re going about your daily routine, whether you are at the grocery store, or you are on campus on your way to class, you never truly know what is going on with the person that is right next to you. And although I didn’t believe it when my friend told me at the time, a polite smile really does have the potential to make a bitter day a little more tolerable, if even for a moment.
The day that changed my life
It was the June holidays when I and my choir mates went to the music competition. We were going on a tour to Pretoria for two weeks. We woke up early in the morning so that we could catch an early bus. My choir mates were very apprehensive.
We go to the buses and were on the first trip. We arrived at midnight. “Oh, I might be dreaming or something,” I thought. I was so worried.
That day was very special to me because I had never been so far away from home. We arrived in Pretoria and the weather was windy.
I experienced new things, meeting new friends and chatting with new people. The competition started and I heard one of my choir mates saying, “I feel like I am dying inside because I am afraid we would be losers.”
We sang although we were afraid. We tried our best but the competition was too strong. There were different provinces that we were competing with.
We didn’t win but at least we were in position two. Position one was KwaZulu- Natal. We got a silver medal, a little trophy and white t-shirts.
That day really changed my life.
FunDza is working to develop young South African writers and provide them with a platform to publish their work.
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