When I was young, I learned that everything happens for a reason. I was seven when my mom died from cancer; that bit of information might lead you to be puzzled as to how her dying taught me this great life lesson but I promise – it’s not as morbid as it sounds.

A few months after my mom was told she had cancer, my family went to the circus and my dad sat down on the bleachers with my little brother; the bleachers weren’t locked down like they should’ve been and they collapsed, permanently wrecking my dad’s back. Once my dad’s back was found to be permanently crippled, he could no longer work so he was able to care for my sick mom as she fought cancer and he was also able to look after my sister, my brother, and myself. At this time my mom was having chemo treatments a few times a week. I’m the oldest of the three kids and, at the time, I was only six so you can only imagine the handful that three small kids would be to watch when you’re sick after just having chemo. Thankfully, I believe everything happens for a reason and my dad was able to be there full time for all of us.

Without my dad being at home fulltime, my mom would’ve had basically no help caring for us at a time that she needed help because all of our extended family members work. For me to learn and grasp the concept of “everything happens for a reason” it took having it played out first hand in my life. My mom died when my brother and sister and I were still very small; if my dad’s back wasn’t messed up, he would’ve worked all the time and we wouldn’t have seen him much. It would’ve seemed, then, as if we lost both parents at the same time. Years later, my dad is still always there for us even though our mom can’t be. Learning this lesson was hard for me: I didn’t understand why my mom died but other kids still had a mommy. It took my dad telling me calmly one-on-one that everything that happens in our lives happens for a reason.

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