My Personal Hero
Everyone has someone they look up to and want to be just like one day and everyone has different opinions and who a true hero is. My personal hero is my mother, Mavis Dillon. My mom is my favorite person in the world because she is always there when I need her the most and I don’t know where I would be today without her. She has blessed me with a great life and I am forever thankful for all she does for me. Nobody could ever compare to my mother. She is the most caring, loving, and genuine person I know and that is why she is my hero.
When I think of a hero, I think of someone who is brave, strong, hardworking, trustworthy, and unselfish. Someone who can protect you and make life better; my mom has all of those qualities. My mother was raised by two great parents and had a very good life growing up. She lived in a small town called East Bend, she was a cheerleader, and graduated from Forbush High School. After high school she went to college at Western Carolina University for four years and majored in Education and then went on to The University of North Carolina at Greensboro to get her masters in Administration Education. My mother had a job throughout college and worked hard to make good grades and have money to spend. She was very hardworking and did whatever it took to make her dreams possible. She has always told me college was the best years of her life and to enjoy being young while you can.
A hero to me is a person that is there for you no matter what; they will always be by your side even if times do get tough. My mom has a never left my side, and I know she will always be there for me whether I am upset and crying or I am celebrating a new accomplishment in my life. I have never met someone who is so selfless as her. She has always put me first in her life and done everything she could to be the best mother and give me the best life. Putting up with me is not easy. I am moody, stubborn, and at times I think I know everything. My mother and I don’t have the perfect relationship. We get in arguments and disagree on a lot of things, but no matter how big of a fight we get in we always make up by the end of the day because we both know we couldn’t live without each other.
One of the many great traits my mom has is that she is strong. This past October my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she told me the news I completely lost it. All of these thoughts started running through my head about how hard this was going to be and that the outcome could be bad, but then I started to think about how strong she was and that she was going to get through this and beat cancer. In December my mom had her surgery to remove the cancer and everything went great; they removed all the cancer. We were all so thankful and lucky that the surgery went so well. She just recently started radiation and is halfway done with her treatments. She really does make cancer look so easy. The fact that my mom has overcome breast cancer makes her even more of a hero to me than before. She’s fearless and knew the whole time that she was going to get through this hardship in her life and that God always has a plan.
My mother is my hero not only because what she offers me and gives back to me but to other people too, she is a great wife, mother and friend. All the qualities she has as a person I hope one day and I can have the same and be just like her. My mother makes me feel like the most important person in the world, because I know she would do anything for me in heartbeat if I was in need or hurt. Words cannot even express the love I have for her, and how blessed I am to have such an amazing mother. She has alway taught me to love myself, and to be proud of who I am. My mother has always said that you should do whatever makes you happy and be the best person you can. She is my hero for more than just a few reasons. She has been by my side for 17 years now and I know there are many more to come. Nothing will ever compare to how much she has impacted my life. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without her.
When my dad died exactly one year ago, I didn’t know what to do.
It was the second semester of my freshman year in college, and it wasn’t something that I expected to happen. At that point, I knew my dad was really sick and that he probably wouldn’t have a long life, but I didn’t think that his death would come so soon.
I didn’t know whether or not I should cry immediately, if I should scream, when I should cry and for how long, when I could smile, when it was OK to talk about what happened, what happens next, whether I should stay at school as much as possible or spend as much time at home as possible.
We don't think our parents will ever die.
It just doesn’t seem like something that should happen. They raised you, took care of you, taught you everything you know, bought you everything you needed, took you to cool places, made you laugh endlessly.
They’re real-life superheroes, and superheroes are supposed to be immortal, right? So when they’re gone, it just doesn’t seem real, even though you know it is.
Here’s what happens.
Grief comes in waves.
Before my dad’s death, I wasn’t really one to tear up after seeing those dramatic ASPCA commercials. Believe me, they always got to me like they do everyone else, but they never actually made me cry.
That flew out the window.
Every time I see one of those commercials, I get choked up. The same happens with those emotional videos on Facebook that are strategically edited to make people cry. The ones with the classical music in the background interspersed with emotional dialogue – you know the ones.
Emotions change randomly and rapidly, and a lot of the time, getting upset seems inconvenient for those around me, for myself or for whatever situation I’m in. I thought this would completely throw my life off track, especially my education.
But surprisingly, my grades didn't drop. Even I expected them to, and I've always had good grades.
Maybe it was because my instructors were gracious, but I’m doing better now than I ever have in college. I even made the dean’s list last semester. Seriously, no idea how that happened.
I’m more focused on myself.
Before my dad passed, I was so consumed by his battles that I never gave myself enough time to focus on my own.
Maybe this sounds selfish, but it’s true. It’s not that I’m happy that my dad is gone, more so that I’m relieved that he’s no longer in such immense pain.
This means I don’t have to worry constantly anymore, and that means I’m better able to focus on other important things in my life, even though I wish my dad could see me doing well.
My dad’s absence still confuses me.
I still expect to get calls from my dad asking to hang out every once in a while.
This happens even more whenever a Marvel movie comes out. That was our thing, my dad, my sister and I, going to see every new Marvel movie together. No matter how unenthused I was about them, my dad always made it a fun experience.
I also find myself wanting to call him and tell him about little things, like getting a good grade on a test that I was worried about or my best friend doing something funny.
And I know he still knows about these things somehow, but it would be so comforting to have just one more five-minute phone call with him to make sure.
One of my biggest fears is forgetting my dad.
Not literally forgetting his existence, more so little things about him.
How his voice sounded, what his hugs felt like, how he smelled, his unnecessary loudness or what he looked like in person rather than just in pictures.
I know I won’t forget these things, but I feel that without him here physically, I’ll have a harder time remembering some of the specifics.
People pretend like they know what you’re going through.
Here’s the thing: losing a parent in a more expected situation, at an older age, is completely incomparable to losing a parent as a teenager. I didn’t have as much time with my dad as most people have with their parents before they die. Plain and simple.
You can try to tell me that you understand how I feel because you lost a parent at 40, but you still had 21 more years with them than I had with mine.
If you went to college, you got to have that parent at your graduation. My dad won't be obnoxiously cheering me on at mine.
If you have a career, your parent got to see you get your first job. My dad won't be able to celebrate with me when I do.
If you’re married, you got to have that parent at your wedding. My dad won't be there to walk me down the aisle.
If you have kids, the parent you lost got to meet them. My dad won't get to hold my babies.
It’s hard to lose a parent at any age, I know that, but not all emotional support needs to be empathetic.
I worry more about my mom.
When you have one dead parent, you tend to worry a lot more about the living one.
I’ve found myself thinking of the worst possible scenarios when my mom doesn’t text or call me back after a while, even though I know she’s just working, driving or busy with something else important.
When this happens, I get irrationally worried, scared about losing the only other parent I have left, because I don’t know where or who I’d be without my mom.
Yes, I’m 20 years old, I’m an adult, but I still have no idea what I’m doing. I’m still just trying to make sure I get all of my homework turned in on time, that I don’t procrastinate studying for midterms too much and that I’m saving enough of my minimum wage so I’m not broke when I graduate.
You can’t be prepared for a parent’s death, ever, especially not at 19 years old.
Losing a parent at a young age is an especially devastating event, one that I hope no one else ever has to experience, yet one that way too many people have to live with.