Family Traditions Essay Example


The summer of my sixth grade,  my uncle Jake’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma returned for the third time. That being the case, his doctors told him that his only option left was a bone marrow transplant. They needed to find a nearly identical match for his body to accept the foreign stem cells. After everyone in my family had their marrow tested, it was decided that my mother was the closest match.

A few weeks later, I was with my mother and little sister in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where my uncle lived with his then-fiancée Briana and their daughters Olivia and Ava. We made our way to the University of Minnesota Medical Center, where my uncle had been staying for the past several weeks.

When we entered my uncle’s room on the oncology floor, I met my uncle for the first time in years. His head was bald, which surprised me more than I expected. He was gaunt, emaciated, with hollow cheeks that could not support the glasses he wore. I had never seen anyone look the way he did. I did not like his appearance, not at all. When I ran up to my uncle to give him a hug, he was as thin as a rake.

“Hey there, kiddo,” my uncle greeted me, hugging me back. His voice was the same as I remembered, just a little rougher. I smiled, realizing that, despite his physical changes, he was still the same uncle I knew and loved.

For the rest of the week, my mother spent almost every day hooked up to tubes and wires that I could tell caused her immense pain. On the third day, I asked her why she was letting the nurses hurt her over and over again. She said that any amount of pain was worth saving her brother’s life because they were family. I had never thought of it like that before. She was not doing this due to any kind of obligation, she did this because saying no never even crossed her mind. I suddenly realized that she loved her brother more than I could imagine.

The following week, my mother told me that her bone marrow would finally be donated to my uncle. When we arrived in his room, my entire family was there. When my mother approached my uncle, he looked her in the eyes tearfully as he lightly squeezed her hand. Tears streamed down my mother’s face as she reached down to hug her brother.

Within the hour, doctors arrived and began hooking my uncle to more complicated wires that I did not understand. I sat next to my mother, waiting for whatever we were waiting for to happen.

“Here we go,” one of the doctors announced after some time, adjusting a knob slowly. After only a moment of silence, noise erupted throughout the room and I was petrified as my uncle begin to convulse and violently thrash against his bed. Exclaiming loudly, the doctors turned him onto his side and adjusted several knobs. Terrified, I pushed myself into a corner as the adults stood around his bed, blocking my vision.

After what seemed like hours, the room went silent, save for the beeping that indicated my uncle was still alive. The doctors assured us that what just occurred was normal. My brain strained, trying to comprehend how anything even remotely similar to what I just witnessed could ever be considered normal. My mother helped me to my feet and made sure that I was okay. I did not feel okay at all, but I pushed my way forward to look at my uncle nevertheless. He was breathing heavily and covered with a sheen of sweat. Surprised, I took a step back, but my mother pushed me closer to him, encouraging me. I took a deep breath and grabbed his hand, gently. He turned to me and smiled, despite what just happened to him.

“Thanks, kiddo. I love you, too,” he said between breaths. I nodded as tears began streaming down my face once more. Looking around at my family around us, despite not knowing what the future may hold, I was sure that he would recover. This certainty was instilled within me because I was absolutely positive that our family would always be here for him. Our family would stick together, not because we should, but because any other alternative would be too awful to bear.

 

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