Updated: May 20
How can four words have the power to change your life forever? This is a question I have been asking myself since I was 9 years old. On October 7, 2004, my parents sat me and my brother, Tobin down in our living room. The scene is forever etched in my mind. Tobin and I sat on our brown loveseat while my parents sat across from us on chairs. Then, I heard those four words: Your mom has cancer. I was so young and had no idea how to respond; I ran to my room and clutched my Bible and looked desperately for the verse my fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Larson has taught us that week. Deuteronomy 31:6 - "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Bible Gateway passage: Deuteronomy 31:6 - New International Version, 2020) I sat on my twin bed, Bible clasped in my hands, and my dad's arms around me, while we cried. Truthfully, I do not remember much past this point.
My mom fought for her life, through chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries. Being so young, I do not remember any of it. I am not sure if I am grateful for this or not. I am sure, knowing me, I felt scared and helpless. To this day, I look back and wish I could have been older so that I could have been there more for my mom, dad, and brother. Working through this has been no simple task!
After 16 long months, she finally won. After defeating cancer, she founded One Chapter Soy Candles. The idea behind it: cancer was one chapter in her life, not the whole book. She always said, "cancer was one chapter in my life. It does not mean it is the whole book. Things in our lives are just chapters; they begin and they end. They are a part of your book." Wise words that I have tried to live by in my life.
With each and every strife I face, I strive to put myself in my mom's shoes. If she can beat cancer, then I could pass my exams, dance Clara in the Nutcracker, graduate from college, and travel the world. I could write my book, a complete book with chapters upon chapters. Everyone can try to do the same.
After a little while, One Chapter was not going as well as she had hoped and the dream faded it seemed. This idea had always saddened me; I loved making candles and going to farmer's markets with my mom. That is why I have decided to renovate the company and grow it into what it deserves to be: a hope beacon for anyone struggling. I believe that I am supposed to help others, as I feel I could not help my mom, given how young I was at the time. I want to show everyone what can come from tribulations. There is seldom joy in the midst of sorrow, but when it shows its face, like the sun, you feel it coursing through every inch of you. I yearn to bring joy.
I urge everyone to do something kind for someone. People grapple with grief without exposing it to those around them. That is why I believe it is important to bring joy to someone any chance you get! Learn your waiter's name, ask your cashier how their day has been, thank the men and women working on the cell towers, pay for someone's coffee or meal. We are all here for a reason, we all have struggles, we all need joy and love. Let's start paying it forward, not to make ourselves feel better, but to make others feel LOVED.
Thank you for reading my story!
Owner, One Chapter Soy Candles