いとこのスピーチ My Cousin’s Speech

My cousin is a high school student. This is her speech manuscript.

She lives in Fukushima prefecture, Japan.

What is it to live?When I was in junior high school, I had an ethics class, and there was a lecture to think about life. Of course I understood that life was precious and shouldn’t be wasted, but I didn’t think the issue was related to me personally. However, one event triggered to change my concept about “life.”

In spring of my second year of junior high school, tumor of a malignant nature was found in my mother’s body. It was breast cancer. My mother told me and my three siblings without hiding anything. At that time, my brother, who was three years younger than me, was crying because he thought his mother was pity. I thought that my mother probably had hoped that we thought about “life” and “death” even when we were not adult yet. And we decided that everyone in the family try to reduce my mother’s burden to boost up the effect of the medical treatment. Then my mother’s medical treatment started. Although my mother became bedridden once because of the side effects of anti-cancer drug, she never forgot to smile and didn’t show a slightest indication of suffering. I believed without any doubt that my mother’s cancer was going to be cured and everyone was going to be able to have happy life together again like before.

One day, after about three months since we found out about the cancer, my mother became very upset with me. At that time, I was in some sort of comfort because I believed that my mother was going to get better with no basis in reality, and I thought I was also starting to lose a sense of reality that she was fighting cancer. While thinking that it was not my business, I listened to my mother reluctantly. But my shallow thoughts disappeared in a moment. My mother cried and said, “I don’t know how much longer I have to stay with you guys. I don’t know how many more things I can teach you guys.” I was stunned at that time. There was my mother’s figure facing “death” right in front of her. I saw her pain for the first time and couldn’t even say a word. “Death” exists near us. This reality gave me a strong impact. Everyday my mother was directly facing “death.” I couldn’t sense anything. I felt like I witnessed a part of meaning of “life.”

Next two years, my mother spent time at home to enhance her own healing ability. Condition of the cancer repeatedly became good and bad, but gradually it kept going bad. And February of this year, my mother became unable to breathe, ambulance carried her to the hospital, and got hospitalized to receive medical treatment. She was refusing to use anti-cancer drugs, but she started using them again. There was my mother seeking “life” for her family. We saw her struggle, and every one of the family reflected upon oneself and seemed to strengthen the hope to keep living with her.

On March eleventh, Great East Japan Earthquake happened. The hospital was damaged too and my mother came home temporally. Even though I was happy that my mother came home after being hospitalized for a while, I sensed that earthquake affected her physically and mentally, and her life was about to be gone. And at the second night after she came home, I talked with my mother, just two of us. My mother said she was not going to last that much longer, and wanted me to look after my siblings as the oldest sister, and lastly she said with her ordinary smile, “maybe my life was short, but I was very happy that I met you guys. Even after my body is gone, I will be watching for you guys. I want you to be just yourself and live your life hard.” My mother talked with my brother and two little sisters as well. It was the last conversation we had. The next day, she became unable to breathe and got hospitalized again. And a week later she went back to the world of lights.

Before, I only thought about how I was going to live in future, but after I experienced some time with my mother, I started thinking about what kind of death would arrive to me too. Humans cannot refuse death, and death equally arrives to everyone. I think that “life” without setting “death” equal “goal” isn’t real “life.” This is why people live hard everyday, learn many things and move forward until “death” arrives. I don’t know what is going to happen to my life I am going to live from now, but I found out that facing what is right in front of me and discovering myself little by little is living. Lastly, I’d like to thank my mother for making me realize what it means to live. Thank you.








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