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This is an excellent example of a remembering essay. Even though it is longer in length than you are required, the student who submitted it to me received the same assignment that you have. Note the many techniques she incorporates into her essay to make it personal and emotionally appealing to her audience.

Hope Ellison
English 1113, 10294
September 20, 2004

Live like You’re Dying Standing at a benefit to raise money for cancer a few weeks ago, I heard someone begin to sing “Wind beneath My Wings.” Hearing such an inspirational song made me start to think about the “wind beneath my wings,” my mom. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word Influence as “the power to affect others.” To me, my mom embraced this power. One look at her gorgeous white smile could make any obscure day instantly brighter for those around her, and especially for me. She possessed an overwhelming nature that could never be shaken; she was truly a pure, gentle soul. It is amazing how time can fly by without any notice or warning. One day our lives are routine and orderly and then another day they change drastically. Losing someone close to us often leaves us finally realizing what life is truly about. Most of us have at least one circumstance in life that totally transforms our perspective of the world. Looking back, I clearly understand how watching my mom battle cancer for her final year of life completely altered my outlook about everything around me. IN THIS OPENING PARAGRAPH, SHE BEGINS WITH THE RECOLLECTION OF AN OCCASION THAT PROMPTED A MEMORY OF HER MOTHER WHO IS NOW DECEASED. SHE ALSO USED DEFINITION TO GET ACROSS HER FEELING ABOUT A WORD AND THEN RELATE THAT TO HER MOTHER. HER LEAD IN INFORMATION CAPTURES THE READER’S ATTENTION AND SETS UP HER THESIS STATEMENT --- THE LAST SENTENCE OF THE PARARGRAPH. Throughout my senior year of high school, in her battle against cancer, my mom took chemotherapy treatments every Friday, but still managed to stay determined and perseverant. I remember several mornings going into her bedroom while she was unimaginably sick and asking her if she wanted me to call the elementary school where she worked and tell them she would not make it to work so that she did not have to worry about calling in sick herself; but of course, she always insisted that she was able to go to work. Mom simply washed her face while I went into the kitchen to get her a sprite to relieve her nauseous state and then continued putting on her makeup and adjusting her hair as if the sickness did not exist. I was always quite amazed at her fortitude. Likewise many nights I came home from a date or from being with my friends to find that she had been sick again. The ghostly paleness of her face and the gasping shortness of breath always accompanied her presence. I never failed to ask her how often she had been sick, but she always pretended that she was fine and that her sickness was no big deal, just a little queasy stomach. I knew better, though. In her determination to make my life as normal as possible, she always took the time to talk to me even through her sick spells. Even though my room was on the other side of the house from hers oftentimes, I awoke during the night to hear the heart-wrenching sobs and cries of her pain, and would go into her room and help my dad through yet another sick and sleepless night of caring for her. Once the horrible process of being cringingly sick was finally over, my dad would go back to sleep, but my mom often stayed up and talked to me. We had many famous “girl talks” about boys, friends, and simply life in general during these times. We even discussed her illness sometimes, and though I knew she had to be feeling dreadful and perhaps a bit frightened, she always remained positive and gave me encouragement and overall comfort with our situation. She also often gave some of her best advice to me, while, at other times, we laughed and enjoyed our late-night “gossip fests.” Watching my mom’s courage and determination while being inconceivably sick inspired in me the willower and strength I needed to get through, not only her sickness, but also through life. It also taught me that we all should be substantially goal-driven and perseverant, no matter what obstacles may come our way. Another way my mom’s courage changed my life was through her testimonies to others. Oftentimes the local churches called and asked her to come speak to their congregations and give her testimony. She always worked a full week on a well-thought-out presentation for such speaking engagements. I witnessed her searching her Bible continuously for scriptures and verses to accompany her testimonies. She always had an air of excitement about her when she was preparing for these testimonials, as though she could hardly wait to tell people about her experience and how even though it was difficult to go through, she could not do it without God and her family by her side. She did not candy-coat anything though; she shared exactly what it was like to go through chemo and how painful it was for her. Everyone who heard her speak was inspired just by hearing her talk so powerfully about the cancer, its causes, and how important it was to fight to find a cure for it. Others who were going through cancer themselves as well as those with loved ones fighting it regularly called my mom to ask questions, get advice or simply to receive inspiration and hope. She never hesitated to offer any piece of insight that she had in hopes that it would help them. If the person were crying, as many often were, my mom would usually have him or her laughing before the conversation ended. To those who knew her, my mom was simply phenomenal. Se could restore faith to the lowest person. Until her death, my mom never ceased to donate money to the American Cancer Society and Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, or to any other benefit for cancer. She would take out a certain amount of money from her paycheck each month to go towards these funds. Whenever our hometown had a benefit for anyone, Mom would be one of the first to help, even though she could have easily been the recipient for a benefit herself. She always said that she wanted to help others have a better life and make someone else’s day brighter. She was completely selfless and giving. Watching her selflessness taught me that we should all be just as charitable as she was, giving of ourselves lovingly to make life better for others and the world around us. My mom also changed my perspective on life by managing to keep her priorities aligned throughout her tribulation. She kept her faith and until the end of her life proclaimed that God would heal her. She never doubted for an instant that God was at work in her life. I remember watching her as she awoke each morning. First, she read her Bible, and prayed in her habitual morning devotional time. I was continuously amazed that even though she had still not been healed she continued to cling to her faith in God and to place her individual trust in Him. Furthermore, she kept in close contact with her family and friends. Even when her cancer spread to her lungs her final year of life, and she had a real problem breathing and was forced to wear an oxygen mask at all times, she never failed to take the time to converse with her loved ones, no matter how much it wore her out. She wanted us all to know that she loved us no matter the price she had to pay. Even when we had family get-togethers, instead of simply staying home because of the burdensome oxygen tank, she always went along and acted as normally as she could. Most importantly, my mom managed to be the best mother any daughter could ask for by proving that she loved me unconditionally. For example, my high school has Senior Appreciation Night for all band students, and on my senior night, even though Mom could barely walk from the advanced cancer, she still walked me across the football field as the other parents did. After that never-ending walk across the field, Mom could hardly catch her breath but when I looked over at her, she gave me a thousand-watt smile that told me how proud she was of me. Likewise, I was never prouder of her at that moment. Many other nights when she was worn out from a treatment, as she lay on her bed, she would ask me to come watch television with her, and it was during these times while talking, laughing and just joking around that she would kiss me and hug me and tell me how much she loved me and how lucky she was to have me as a daughter. I have never felt more special in my life than I did at those precious and priceless moments. As I write this, my mom has been dead eight months, but she is still that voice inside my head pushing me to try harder, to work harder, and to love harder. Without her in my life, even though our time together was much shorter than I would have liked, I would not be the person I am today. I owe her much and would gladly give anything to be able to see her one more time so I can make sure she knows what a great influence she has had on my life. The one phase of my life (watching my mom battle with cancer for the last year) has taught me that life is unquestionably short and that we should never take any of it for granted because we never know what the next day will bring us. We should take risks and have no regrets in our lives because we have only one life to live. I also learned that life is delicate and something to be relished daily. Watching my mom’s battle with cancer has helped me to conceive exactly how precious life is. If I learned nothing else from my mom, it is that we should live life each day as if we are dying.

The lesson she learned from her mom’s battle with cancer is clearly spelled out for the reader. The language is above average and the examples are plenteous.…...

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