Tag Archives: cancer

“Listen to the guy that was friends with a volleyball… I’m not kidding.” A guest lesson by Lauren Makely. 

I remember waking up in my bed the morning after I found out my mom had passed away from her long and tough battle with cancer and thinking:

“Do I get up?”

“Do I stay here?”

“Can my body even lift itself off the bed?”

“How am I even still breathing?”

It took me a great deal of time to understand how I could’ve possibly woken up that morning when the reason I existed no longer did.

Yet there I was, staring at the ceiling of my bedroom eight hours after my worst fear had come true. I wasn’t crying or angry. I just lay there watching the sun peak out of the bottom of my shade.

Weirdly enough, this little ray of light reminded me of a line from the movie Cast Away (Yes the one with Tom Hanks), a movie my brother and I had watched an embarrassing amount of times growing up,

“So now I know what I have to do. I have to keep breathing. And tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide will bring in.”

As cheesy as it sounds, this is the moment I think I decided how I would live the rest of my life. This moment I decided I was going to make it out of my bed. I decided I wasn’t going to break.

This is the moment I decided I was going to keep moving.

However, this didn’t mean I was just going to go through life like a zombie. I was going to keep reaching for my dreams and working hard to do everything I set my mind to, just like my mom had taught me to do for the last 20 years. I decided I was going to grab ahold of my passion and never let it slip from my grasp because in the end, no matter how often we forget, we never really know what the tide will bring or wash away.

The lesson here is to get up, brush yourself off when the world knocks you down, and keep going. No matter how scared or uncertain you are about what lies ahead, let it inspire you.

Let it inspire you to live more freely,

Live more positively,

Succeed in what makes you happy,

Take chances,

And love harder.

Since that moment, I’ve continued to make strides in school, discover incredible friendships, meet influential people, land my dream internship, discover more about the person I want to be in the future, and yes…. fight more battles, but all the while keeping in mind, “you’re going to make it because you’ve made it this far.”

All things mama would be proud of and I know she’s has had a part in thus far.

So next time you’re asking yourself whether to get out of bed or not, just remember that you have to live through the toughest of days and struggle through the toughest of moments to get to the best of your life.

Lesson by Lauren Makely.

GetAttachment.aspxLauren Makely is a coffee powered human being with a slight obsession with morning talk shows. She is a human rights activist entering her senior year at James Madison University, finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology. When she grows up she wants to influence policy and fight for the rights of women and girls facing gender-based violence, because every empowered girl leads to a better world.


Lesson #308: It’s okay not to be okay.


Starting about four months ago, my nineteen-year-old cousin began having seizures.

They came out of blue. The first one happened right around New Years; we were thankful it happened with all of us around. But they haven’t stopped since then.

They still come. Randomly. In school, at home—whenever and wherever they want.

The doctors have done tests to find what triggers it. They say it’s stress and strain among other things. But they are still working to find a medicine that works best. And they haven’t gotten to that point yet.

This morning I heard a scream downstairs, and ran.

My cousin was on the kitchen floor with my mom and dad. My grandma and brother ran downstairs and my aunt hopped out of the shower. We all kept the dogs away and laid her on her side and got her a towel. If you’ve never experienced it, you can’t even imagine how scary it is to see someone go through that—especially when it’s someone you know and love.

Over the past few months, she has been positive about it all. “The doctors are working on it,” she’ll say with a smile. “Everything happens for a reason.” But as college inches closer for her, I’ve noticed that optimism is beginning to fade. She can’t get her license. She feels sick or lightheaded more times than not. The unknown is constantly circling her. Always, when will it happen next?

As she woke up and slowly noted what had happened, she began sobbing. As did myself, and a few of us.

Everyone kept telling her “It’s okay, don’t cry”—myself included.

But then I took her hand and told her—

you know what?

It’s not.

It’s not okay that you can’t go somewhere without being scared. It’s not okay that you’re constantly living on edge. It’s not okay that your life is different; that it’s been altered without any warning.

I told her to cry and be upset.

Which probably wasn’t the best thing to do after someone’s literally woken up from seizing on the kitchen floor. Note taken.

But you know what I was getting at.

We need that sometimes.

We need to cry—to actually, physically have that release. We need that momentary freak out. That time to say to ourselves: “This is not okay. Nothing is okay. This is not fair. And I hate this.”

Because we’re human.

And when it’s not okay, we shouldn’t have to pretend like it is.

We can’t give into the the darkness that indubitably surrounds situations and circumstances like these, or else we’d be down for good. But the point is to have that moment, to get it all out, and then to pick up and keep going.

A lot like my very first lesson.

It’s definitely hard, but it helps to have faith in something or someone, and to trust in whatever is happening. You have to believe that you’re going to be okay—but you should also be able to have your moment to be angry and frustrated.

My cousin is the sweetest person in the world. It frustrates me because she doesn’t deserve this.

Who does?

But now that moment is over.

I’ve acknowledged those feelings, and now I’m going to be right by her side as we continue to hope and pray for the best, find the good things in this, and keep moving forward.

Appreciate everything and everyone you have. You never know how lucky you are until you do.

Day 307.

Please keep Kayla in your prayers! Thanks :)