This I Believe

October 20, 2017

The one thing we have in this world to hold onto is love. As banal as that sounds, it’s the truth. Our clothes will wear, food will expire, people will die, change will come, but the way that we felt will remain within our souls. Everyone in this world wants to be loved in some way. As I watch life unfold, I realize this more and more.
I want to be honest. As of late, my life has turned into a right royal mess, but the thing about living in a constant storm is, I have become numb to the downpour. I’m slogging through flooded streets in my sneakers, and the water soaks into my socks, but I cannot care when there are bigger problems than dirty clothes and soggy shoes.
It’s the start of my senior year of high school, and my favorite person in the entire world is dying of brain cancer. My mom. It’s strange when I describe her, because it’s not the person she currently is because her personality is dissipating. My mom has soft brown skin and softer, browner eyes like coffee with cloudy cream poured in. Her hair is thick and her voice is deep and booming. She’s a scrapper from Chicago; rough, but loving. She taught me to respect others’ opinions and have my own. My mom cares about everyone from working in a public school for fifteen years. She is the funky yearbook teacher, always passing out candy or the substitute that all the kids want when the teacher is gone. I am jealous of how she treats all the kids like they are her own.
My mom knows every detail of every day of my life since I knew how to talk. After school, I would tell her all my stories and problems. She’d say to me, “Everything you feel, someone else has felt the exact same way, honey.” I never even thought for a minute she would not be in my life. At least not so soon. Is life a cruel joke? Is life what I make of it? Is this life so abstract and pliable that I should do whatever I please because the people I love are going to die and impermanence is the only thing I can count on?
I don’t want to be home with a sink full of dishes in the kitchen and a hospital bed in my brother’s childhood bedroom. But, I can still go to school and try to smile even though I hate writing my disgustingly intimate feelings out unless it’s in my haphazard diary. I inwardly cringe at the way people look at me when I tell them the truth. I do not desire their pity; it’s just my life and all I need is for people to treat me like a human, not a cardboard box or a walking John Green book or a toilet bowl at a frat party.
I appreciate what I have because I know I won’t have it forever. I can either be seething with anger that my mom is going to die soon or I can accept my life and savor the time that I have with her. I am alive and I can walk and I have food in my fridge and my cat is doing well and my parents are alive today, and I have caring people in my life. I have learned to stop taking what matters for granted. I argued with my mom all the time, and I wouldn’t eat anything she cooked. Today, I would give anything to have her carry on a conversation with me. I’m still in the thick of the situation that I will one day reflect on, but I can see that love is all we have, and there’s no such thing as a good life without the feeling of being loved.
Hayven Geary