50 to 3650

Taylor Wang, 12th Grade

When my dad was diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic cancer on my mom’s birthday, he was given three months to live. At the time, we owned a small Chinese restaurant where I spent my childhood, running around and talking to customers, soaking in the hectic vibrancy of those years. To my parents, having immigrated to the United States with absolutely nothing, this was their American Dream.

This story, however, is about a person during this entire time that has shown me the most important things in life. Because of this person, I believe in willpower and the importance of self-reliance in making all things possible, someone truly deserving of a gold medal: my mother.

After my father’s diagnosis, his parents suggested he stay with them so they could take care of him. But as the months dwindled down, he only became weaker and more bed-ridden. One day, they brusquely kicked him out of their home; they were afraid he would die in their house and curse their entire family. I later learned that ancient Chinese traditions warn that the bad omen of death lingers even after the person is gone.

Four months after he was diagnosed, my dad died one Tuesday morning. His parents and siblings did not show up to the funeral or the memorial service – and they never called.
It rained for fifty days after he died.

During those fifty days, I looked towards my mom, who in spite of all that was happening, continued to look ahead, with grace, determination, and strength. She saw their absence not as an obstacle, but as another reason to continue fighting even harder, with even more resolve. Even during those dark fifty days, she would say to me, “The sky will never fall; the sun will shine again tomorrow”. And as the sunshine slowly crept in after those fifty days of pouring rain, I realized, she was right.

Day 3650—It’s been ten years this February 24th since my dad passed away, and my mom is still my greatest supporter, my greatest role model, and my best friend. Anyone that knows of her knows her as the “supermom”, the woman that in spite of it all faces each and every day with even more vitality and enthusiasm than the day before, and always in style. Undoubtedly, the sacrifices she has made for both my sister and me are countless, but it’s what I’ve learned from her that will continue to guide me in the years to come.
Her fearlessness in times of the unknown, both in her own life and in mine, has helped me understand that some things cannot be solved in a matter of fifty days – or even three thousand, and that’s okay. If I’ve learned anything from my mom, it’s the meaning of courage and integrity in light of all challenges.
My mom has given me all the gold in the world, and now, it’s my turn to give the gold medal to her.