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While decorating my thirteenth birthday cake, I hear an appalling noise as if someone has been thrown up and let others clean up his mess in horror. "Hurry up!" my dad is shouting nervously at my sister Platz to fetch a bowl as he is reaching for some ice. His staring eyes look troubled and fearsome. I do no often see him with such expression on his face. Rushing out of my room immediately, I witness the worst scenario in my life. My hands are shaking terribly, and my stomach is bursting into pieces. I almost fall down and pause for a moment. Finally, I am able to utter some exhausted words that burn up all my strength. "What's going on, Dad?" I ask painfully, but as casually as I can. My frightful eyes fix on an agonizing figure leaning on the sofa with both her hands covering her mouth and the people who are helping her. My heart is pumping so loud and fast that I can barely breathe. I cry, but I cannot move towards the scene because I lack the courage to say, "Yes, it's real."

The house is drowning in blood before me. My sister is holding a big bowl, half full of blood under my mother's chin while mom is spewing out her pure blood vigorously. The very miserable face of my mother makes me too tormented to watch. Her mouth is wide open, filled with blood, and I see mom grimaces agonizingly to gulp down. Her eyes are filled with tears blended with awful pain. She thrusts forward in pain to clear out the way for blood, and Platz, with the bowl handy, captures every drop in panic. Blood is on every side of mom's mouth, and stains all over my sister's hands and clothes.

Dad tries to compress mom's throat with a small bag of ice and gently puts several ice cubes into her mouth. She tries very hard to cover it with her hands, but blood is still flowing out like water escaping the dam. Every time mom spits out her mouthful of blood, she looks five years older. Her skin begins to dry and wrinkle. "Stop coughing, mom!" my sister weeps hopelessly, "Hold your mouth tight." She looks away every time blood comes out of mom's mouth that ends up in the bowl she is holding. With her shaken hands, she repeatedly stops mom's trembling body from falling onto the floor.

Although I appear to be calm, no one knows that my heart is burning for my mother's health, and that I am writhing in agony. Why can't it be me? I am very glad. I want to bear the burden of her old age and the sickness of her body. I want nothing more than the smile on her face, the healthy look in her eyes, the gentle stroke of her hand, the delicate tones in her speaking, and every other affectionate quality she possesses. However, I cannot even move but stand there in the hall trying to swallow the bitterness of every drop of my tears. My eyes swell, accompanied with the dryness of my mouth and the turbulence of my mind. For a moment, the icy water miraculously helps to clot the blood and therefore maintains it safely without expelling from mom's mouth. Mom is so exhausted because she cannot stay upright unless dad gently sustains her fragile body with his extended arms around her back. As I take a step closer to mom, she seems to have something very important to tell me but is unable due to the loss of too much blood. She gradually closes her eyes as if the world is over, and remains on the sofa until the ambulance arrives. She is transported to the local hospital with dad and sister Platz.

It is now 7:25 p.m. However, the sun has not yet disappeared under the horizon, and I return to my room with a great apprehension for my future. Life is so lonely since my mother has gone to the hospital for the treatment of lung cancer. Everything has lost its good taste: school, recreation, TV, and even food. It is the first time I experience that life without my mother would be not worth living. It is a great loss just not having mom to talk to, and just to exchange simple glances. Yet, many times I got angry with mom, and countless times I was stubborn in fulfilling her daily wishes.

There are difficult times that I have encountered, but within all those times, I have a mother on my side who supports and guides me to the right path in life. Despite what I have faced, the worst time is when I am lonely without mom. I fear my weaknesses, and I fear my future lying ahead. Without mom by me, I do not trust myself because I am too young and inexperienced to lead my own life.

Tonight is as empty as a vacuum, like a day without sunshine, and a soul without a spirit. No longer do I feel mom's warm breath and her steady walk to my room everyday to check if I sleep well. It is the longest night I have ever had. The fear and anxiety for my mother's health keeps haunting me throughout. I remain in sleepless hours until the next morning at 7:13 a.m. when the phone rings. My mother has entered eternity. I felt so sleepy that I never want to wake up facing the reality, ever again. I wish everything was only a dream.

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