Alanas story

Alana Friedman (11 years old) remembers how family life changed when her sister,

Laura, had cancer.

My sister was in fifth grade and had been sick for the last week or so. Laura always seemed to be my hero. Although we got into arguments, all siblings get into fights, so I didn't worry. I didn't know what was about to happen, but neither did anyone else.

I don't quite remember how my parents told me she had cancer, but I do remember a lot of tears.

As time progressed, my life changed. I lived with my best friend and her parents, Catherine and Bill, but that changed too. Kelsie (my friend) and I got into a lot of arguments, but we still do. I don't know if that is why my grandmother and grandfather moved up to live in our house so that they could take care of me. Living with them was different. My grandmother had different expectations of me than my mother did.

My parents would each take turns staying at the hospital. Some nights I would live with my mom, grammy, and grandpy; and the next it would be with my dad and them.

Of course going through this dilemma I felt left out. Here I was living with my grandparents, and my sister got to live with our parents. She got lots of flowers, cards, and gifts, and all I got was the feeling of love from my relatives. I know that love is better than material things, but when you are 6 years old, you don't think so.

Things stayed the same for a long time. Then my sister went into remission and started living at home. I had to get used to my parents again and missed my grandparents.

My sister was spoiled at home, too. They bought her a waterbed, so she wouldn't get cold. What did I get? A heating blanket; a used heating blanket.

A few months after she came home, her remission ended. She went back to live in the hospital, and my grandparents moved up to live with me.

Things went downhill from there. My life was turned around again. My sister went into a coma, and didn't really have much of a chance of coming out of it. Soon it would be her best friend's birthday, and Laura had to miss it. She was taken to heaven that day. Taken out of her misery and leaving us with a feeling of shock.

The day my sister died I had no idea what was happening. Kelsie's mom took care of me, and everything was going great. To me, that is, but when her mom took me back home, I remember my dad at the door talking to her. I headed in the other direction, but my father stopped me. My dad went into my parents' bedroom with me, and there I found my mom, lying on the bed helplessly, and to this day I still remember what she said to me, "It's over." Those words didn't make a lot of sense to me, I didn't know if the earth was going to explode. And then those two words sunk into my heart and I knew: my sister had died.

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