Chapel Talk: Moments

Senior Caroline shares the story behind her very personal commitment to Relay for Life.

Life is a series of moments. Some moments are happy, exciting, and hopeful while others are terrifying, scary, and sad. Throughout life you are going to have a lot of different moments, and each moment, some more than others will shape the person that you become. And your reactions to these moments will truly show the kind of person that you are.

Now let me tell you about a couple of moments that have shaped my life in ways I never thought moments could. These moments are all about one person, the person that I wish could be here right now, my dad.

February 10, 2010 started off as an exciting moment. It was a snow day, and my 6th grade self could not have been more thrilled. But throughout the day, it became more and more of a nerve-wracking moment until finally it was a sad and scary moment. On that day my dad was brought into the hospital to have lifesaving surgery and was then diagnosed with stage four colon cancer which had spread to the liver. The prognosis was that he had three months to live. But of course on that night I didn’t know all the details. I just knew that I was scared and sad. I was 11 years old when he was diagnosed. That day, that moment is one that I will always remember, because how could you not remember?

For the next two and a half years there were all kinds of moments. I had those days when Abby and I would come home from school and we would watch "Ellen" or "House Hunters" with my dad and he looked so full of life. But we also had those days when he would spend all day in bed because he was in so much pain and my sisters and I would take turns giving him back massages. Through all of this, I wondered how many moments I was going to get, and at what point would I not have moments - only memories.

That final moment was August 11, 2012. I was at my best friend's house at a sleepover. I was planning on seeing my dad in the hospital the next day. He had entered hospice just two weeks earlier. As we were watching The Breakfast Club I was called up from the basement. My friend’s mom handed me the phone. Once I heard my sister's voice I knew what had happened. I can’t tell you a lot about that night because I don’t remember much. That may be because I don’t want to remember that night. But what I can tell you is that it was one of the most important moments in my life.

It was a moment that I am unable to forget because not only was I sad and upset, I was also relieved.
Now you may be thinking that I am crazy for saying that, and it is possible that I am. But I was relieved because my dad was finally out of pain. I was in pain but it was emotional, not physical.

Now what do you do after a moment like this? Either you break or you keep moving on. I did a little bit of both. I started school at Peddie three weeks later physically moving on, but mentally and emotionally broken. Throughout my freshman and sophomore, year I struggled with depression and anxiety because I was unable to think of a world without my dad. At home I was miserable to be around, and my sisters and my mom got to watch me crumble to the ground without being able to say or do anything to change it. I kept asking why this was happening to my family, why did I have to lose my dad? I never thought about the other people that might be going through situations very similar to mine. Being at Peddie did not help my situation either. I came in not knowing a whole lot of people, and meeting people was not as easy as it used to be. I was guarded, never wanting people to know about my personal life because I didn’t want to feel vulnerable. So I hid a lot of my emotions. I was great at pretending that everything was fine and that I was happy, but inside and at home I was broken.

There wasn’t a specific moment that turned my life around, but there were a lot of decisions and a lot of moments that really kept me going. During my junior and senior year things started to come together. I found the friends that I had always wanted. I became a boarder my sophomore year and then a prefect, and I became more confident in myself. Those moments after my dad died really shaped the kind of person that I was, because yes I went into a dark place, but I came out stronger than before.

I want more moments with my dad, I will always want more moments with my dad, but for now I am finding hope in fighting against cancer because cancer is a thing that never quits - unless we make it quit.

Relay For Life is a hopeful moment. It takes a situation that is sad and scary and gives us hope that one day we will be able to live in a world where cancer is just a zodiac sign, and no person will ever have to hear the words that someone they love has cancer. On May 1st, Peddie will be hosting its third annual Relay For Life, a day which will be filled with tons of happy and exciting and hope-filled moments. So come out on May 1st to walk, raise money, and honor those that have died, survived or are still fighting their battle with cancer. Make this moment the moment when you decide to fight back, and tell cancer that you have had enough, because I know I have had enough.

Thank you and Ala Viva