The Bright Side



When I was 6 years older my mother died of breast cancer that had inevitably spread throughout her body and into her brain. The night that my mother died, me and my two sisters were staying at my aunt’s house who lived near the hospital my mother was being treated at. What I can remember from that night is vague, but I do remember telling my uncle that my mother was in fact dying and then a montage of me and my family running through the hospitals to say my final goodbye to her before she took her last breath.

Photo from the writer’s personal collection.

 At 6 years old I had yet to understand what was really going on and why mommy was asleep in front of a room full of people, but what I did notice is that my oldest sister Emily had not let me leave her side and was holding me tight to her body in order to give me some sort of comfort and security in the world. My family soon had to realize how to be on our own, my single father parenting 3 girls, 2 of them being teenaged aged he had to quickly learn to navigate this world alone and not with my mother by his side. I do not remember the surrounding months of my mother’s funeral, or even the years that surrounded her death, and I believe that is because trauma at that young of an age will simply cut memories out of your brain if it seems like it is causing pain.  While my mother passing was hard and at times unbearable pain, my father soon got back into the dating game and was on the dating app eHarmony where he soon met my soon to be stepmother, Sandy.

When I was 8 my step mom who also had 3 girls and enjoyed doing almost everything that my dad did got married and my family joined there’s in a house 20 minutes from where I had grown up. My home life when I was growing up was far from perfect, living with 6 girls never is, but the way that our family meshed and became one was worth the pain and hardships that we faced.  Now as I am a fresh 18-year-old and meeting so many new people they are quick to apologize when hearing about my mother’s unfortunate passing. As I start to think about my childhood and the person I have become, now a freshman at the University of Cincinnati studying psychology, I have realized how different my life would be if she wouldn’t have passed away.

I am in no way saying it was a good thing that my mother is gone but the family that my step mom and father created is beyond extraordinary. My best friend is my step sister Lizzie who knows my pain and my struggling because she also lost her father from lung cancer and without my mother’s death, I would have never found my soulmate of a best friend. Without this happening I would have never found my friends who I so happily live with now, never would have went to my high school where I developed so many tight-nit relationships with other students and faculty and in the end would not have been the person I am today. In conclusion I believe that there is good to come out of bad and there is always a brighter day beyond the gloomy ones.

By Ellen Heyob, Activist Writer

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