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Whenever I feel sorrow

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As I stared at the computer screen, my mother’s words started to finally sink in. Two years left, one last hope, had a good life. They flew through my mind like a windmill in a storm. As reality set in, tears poured out.

The screen started to blur through my waterfall of tears. Darkness surrounded me. All was silent except for the steady buzz of the monitor.

I tried to stifle my sobs, to hold them in just as I had tried to do with all the pain and sorrow that engulfed me. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bear the burden and I couldn’t walk the journey alone.

I needed help and love; I needed a reason to keep hoping at all.

“Your dad has kidney cancer. It’s called renal cell carcinoma. The doctors said he has about two years left to live.” I nodded understandingly as my mom spoke to me. Her eyes bore into me, looking for my reaction. I responded with no words, only nods of my head and the occasional blink.

Two years is actually quite a long time. That’s 730 days; a lot can happen between now and then. Besides, what do these doctors know? I’ll be alright, I’m strong, I can take it, I’ll be fine.


Glancing back at the computer screen, I felt more alone than I’ve ever felt. For the first time in many years I felt scared. How could God just let one of his children suffer this much and lose the only earthly dad she’d ever known? The reality is, my dad won’t even get to see me finish high school. He won’t be able to teach me to drive once I hit 16 or wave from our front porch as I head off to college. I have my whole life ahead of me and my own father will see only a small fraction of it.

Every tear that fell from my eyes represented the cancer cells infesting my dad’s body. Each sob reminded me of the clock ticking away his life. The pain felt too much for my sheltered heart to handle.

At my deepest point of despair, I felt loving arms embrace me. I nestled my head into my mom’s comforting shoulder. My tears soaked into her familiar fleece housecoat. I’d forgotten one crucial part of the news – I wasn’t alone. The snare around my heart was also around all my family members.

Most of all, I knew that God was waiting with outstretched arms, ready for me to leap into them. Just as my mom was there for me, God was there for me a thousand times over. God was the sanctuary my family needed, a place of refuge and peace. He was the calm in my storm. I knew the road ahead would be full of sorrow but the love I needed had always been there. I just needed to grasp it.

Whenever I feel a moment of sorrow, I know I can reach out to my heavenly Father, for he will be there to embrace me and my family.

Jackie Hazenberg attends Grade 11 at Robert Bateman Secondary  School in Abbotsford, B.C. She wrote this story for a Grade 9 English assignment. Jackie’s father, Ian Hazenberg, died December 22, 2008. But Jackie  feels the same way as when she first wrote it and, she says, “I am so grateful God was able to give my family a few extra years with my dad.”
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