Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Resilience

Resilience

Sophie Alexander

Year 6, Gib Gate, Mittagong

Resilience; the ability of people or things to feel better quickly after something unpleasant, such as shock, injury, etc. That is, according to the Oxford Dictionary. But is that all it means? Or is it something else? Maybe not to recover quickly but to recover with a stronger and more positive version of yourself. That's what it means to me and that's what happened to me, but why does it matter?

Resilience helped me through the darkest time in my life. Imagine finding out that the hours of chemo, radiotherapy and the pure pain your own father went through was for nothing. That priceless person, who without him you wouldn't be here today, was going to die in a couple of months. All my hope was thrown out the window. I knew that I only had a couple of months left with him so I figured every thing I did with him and said to him counted. I acted fine because I knew that if I cried, it would only make everyone else even more devastated. One afternoon I had just finished drawing a picture for him when my aunty and grandma came into my room. Before they had even said a word, I knew what had happened.

That was the first time I had cried since I had been told about him having cancer, I couldn't help it. I know that if I hadn't taught myself how to be resilient through learning to understand my feelings as normal, that this had happened for a reason and pulled myself back up after falling down a very long way, I might never see the light at the end of the tunnel ever again. I most certainly realise that I am not the only kid that has been through this, or is going through what I did I do know that resilience is the only thing that can put the pieces back together after you feel like this big monster, called death, has picked you up and smashed you on the ground.

Most people experience a parent dying while in their 40's to 70's. I was eight years old when my father lost his battle against cancer. While my friends were learning how to tell the difference between two, to and too, I was at the children's councillor learning how to tell the difference between anger, sadness and confusion.

I go by the motto 'everything happens for a reason'. I have grown so much since then (not just in height). I am mentally stronger than I ever thought I could be, I know that if I hadn't had this experience I would not be the person I am today. Through resilience I got through something so hard, and I hope that kids like me can have resilience and realise that they have to get back up, otherwise they will only keep falling down.

I will never forget him, he has a piece of my heart forever.