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    I wrote this piece for one of my writing courses sophomore year.
During my sophomore writing courses we had an assignment to write about a moment(s) that had something to do with a certain object we hold valuable. I received the most positive feedback from this piece of writing from both my peers and professor. I'm proud to have been vulnerable with my writing. As a communications major at Lee, AP style of writing was most emphasized but I find myself drawn to a more detailed and descriptive style.

"The Heart of the Matter"

My bracelet isn’t real silver. Its face-value is probably no more than $20. The links tend to break open, and I have to use pliers to push them back together. It hasn’t left my wrist in over a year but the shine is still apparent. My bracelet doesn’t rust. There is only a single charm on it--a heart. The inscription “Caitlin Luv U 4 Ever” is slowly starting to wear off. If I turn the heart just right towards the light, I can read the sentiment clear as day. My pseudo-silver memento might have been made in China but has now made its home on my wrist. When my mother gave me this piece of jewelry, I doubt she thought it’d be a permanent fixture on my body. I doubt my mother thought it’d be my reminder of her strength and courage. When my mother gave me my bracelet, I doubt she thought that I’d be wearing it during the most significant event of my life.

I had just driven home from work on a Saturday, late afternoon. Pulling into the driveway, I noticed my step-mother’s van already parked in the garage. I felt it was a bit early for her to be home but decided to push the thought out of my head. When I walked into my Chicago suburban house, I could feel the blast of our swift, arctic air engulf me as I left the humid July heat behind. It’s fascinating how quickly we adapt to new circumstances. How we can be warm one minute and chilly the next. How one test result can make a comfortable life into something more disturbed. How when my father walked into the same room as me, with a phone in hand, my senses sharpened.

“I just got off the phone with your mother’s nurse. The nurse thinks that if you want to say your good-byes to your mom while she’s still semi-conscious, we should go to the hospital immediately.” His voice sounded like he was trying to pick out exactly the right words.

I knew this day would come. I knew this day would come, but I didn’t want to face the reality that her six months were drawing near. Hearing someone tell you all at once that she has leukemia and six months to live is too intense to shed tears over. The tears make their appearance after seeing that same person pale and shrivel to skin and bones. Those tears fall when you see her one month with a full head of hair and the next month with nothing but a wig in her hand. Tears are shed when I put on a bracelet that she gave me before the hospitals and doctors became prominent in her life. The tears trickle onto the stainless steel heart that reads: “Caitlin Luv U 4 Ever.”

My father, sister, step-mother and I left immediately in our van towards Pittsburgh. Most of the nine hour drive was silent. Every now and then I could hear my sister cover up her sniffles and tears while sitting beside me in the dark of night. I dreaded seeing the “Welcome to Pennsylvania” sign as we neared four in the morning. By the time we arrived at the hospital, the sun was just barely an idea in the horizon. We made our way through the eerie linoleum halls hearing heart monitors beeping as our footsteps kept a steady pace towards the elevators. We headed up to the ICU. My stomach felt like it would jump up to my throat after any sudden movement. The elevator doors opened, and we asked what room Connie Dasch was in. My father led the way.

My hands were clammy as my fingers rubbed the heart charm on my bracelet. I hadn’t seen my mother since she went on life-support. I needed the support of my father when I finally did see her. There were so many tubes and expensive hospital equipment hooked up to her that I felt like she was a science experiment. The shock made my legs paralyzed for a moment, but after soaking in my surroundings, I made the conscious effort to walk towards the bed. I noticed stubble on the top of her head, and with one blink of my eyes, my tears began. My hand went to hers, and I held it, my bracelet brushing against her arm. I gave her hand a squeeze, hoping for anything in return, but I felt no response.

The nurse came in and said that she’d be able to hear anything we might say. With her eyes being closed, I was hesitant to believe that. But with the assurance of the hand of my father on my shoulder, I asked him if I could pray. For the first time in my life, I prayed with my mother. During that prayer, I forgave her for the pain she caused me, and I apologized for the pain I caused her. The prayer started with my voice quivering, but towards the end I felt a sense of strength and serenity.

“Mom, I love you so much. Thank you so much for being there for us. And it’s alright, mom. We’re going to be alright. You don’t have to fight anymore. You’ve already won.” My tears dropped down onto her thin white sheets leaving dark stains. After I opened my eyes, I searched for hers, and I saw a slight blink. She didn’t open them, but I saw a tear escape the corner of her eye. It trickled down her cheek to join my own on her sheets. With another clutch of her hand, I leaned down and whispered, “Good-bye.”

My bracelet was with me through the most significant moment of my life. It hasn’t been taken off since that morning in the hospital. The impact that my bracelet has had in my life is as powerful as the stainless steel itself. Some say, “Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve,” and I don’t. I wear my heart on my wrist.