By: Spencer Fluharty
The most revealing aspects of an individual’s true personality and morals emerge when pushed to the most devastated state humans can reach. One of the most devastating events is the diagnosis of a terminal disease. Typically the grief and hysteria is looked upon as the defining feature of terminally ill people. However, I believe being faced with the reality of life’s fragility brings out the best in people. It allows a better understanding of just how silly and pointless it is to harbor negative emotions. Furthermore, the ability to see the humor in the world and deal with stress are greatly improved. The transformation of a person who is diagnosed as terminally ill changes a person dramatically, but at the same time changes the people around them.
When I was in ninth grade, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. The only memories I really have of my mom from her diagnosis until about two years after are sorrowful with a painful amount of tears and questions. Being diagnosed with a terminal illness with an estimated amount of time to live is one of the worst things I have had to witness someone go through and it just so happened to be my mother. The chemotherapy and drugs that she had to take destroyed her body, depleted her energy, and left her asleep at home for many days. I was still in ninth grade, just starting high school at the time. The brooding and fear continued for the rest of my freshman year and into the summer.
We went to Europe on vacation where she started showing positive signs of change. She started laughing more and finding the joy in joking and playing. We have been able to help guide her back to a much more cheerful person and she has become much more positive and looking to the future in recent years. That same summer we also were given the chance to go to the Little Pink Houses of Hope which sponsors a week long vacation on the beach with other families who are going through cancer. It definitely helped my mom understand that she is not alone and that there is still so much hope from the stories from the other families.
This has definitely influenced how I think and how I go about approaching situations. I used to want to pursue a career that is indoors with little action, but now I want to get a job that allows me to explore the world and help people. I am currently waiting to hear from the US Naval Academy, which is the top priority school for me since it would allow me to travel to the Naval ports all around the world. I would like to work as a pilot or engineer for the Navy in the near future.
My motivations for attending college and pursuing this career are my appreciation of exploration, there are countless places, cultures, and people I have never met and I still have the opportunity to go out and see the world and all the people within it.