Photo credit: Abby Greenawalt

I’m 10, and I’ve Gone Through More Than Most Adults

When I watch “dramatic” TV shows, they don’t seem like much compared to my life.

When I watch “dramatic” TV shows, they don’t seem like much compared to my life.

When I was six my sister Orli got diagnosed with liver cancer, so we went to Boston Children’s Hospital to get a transplant. But after a time it started spreading to her lungs, and a few years later it went to her brain. On New Year’s Eve this year my sister wasn’t feeling too good. We had gone to New Jersey for a week. On our drive back Orli wasn’t feeling good. Like really not good. When we got home Orli went straight to her room, and when people came over for the party she would not leave her room, so my dad stayed with her. But in the first minutes of 2023 she had a seizure. My dad rushed her to the hospital. At that point we knew she was going to die. A couple weeks later it was her birthday.

But we had to spend it at the hospital. So we had this whole thing but she couldn’t enjoy—she couldn’t enjoy her 14th birthday. For normal girls, 14th birthdays are special. You spend it with your friends, going to movies or arcades. But Orli’s friends were scared. They didn’t want to see her. I had no choice but to see her.

To be honest I didn’t mind. I loved her a lot, and if you love someone as much as I loved Orli then you could never be scared. When she got home from the hospital, every day after school I would rush to see Orli, knowing I didn’t have a lot of time left.

One night, in the middle of the night, I heard my mom saying to my dad that Orli’s oxygen was low. I tried to tune myself out but I couldn’t, I just reminded myself that nothing bad is going to happen. But in my guts I knew something was going to happen. The next morning there was an off energy in my house, so I went downstairs to the basement [where my sister’s room was] but my sister looked tired and not good, my mom was crying and my dad was just staring and my nanny was crying too.

My mom said to hug Orli, but when I did it didn’t feel right. Every night me my mom and Orli watched Emily in Paris, but this night in particular when my mom said I had to go to bed, I said, “love you Orli,” walking away, but then she said, “love you” back, then I said, “love you more.” Then she said, “not true.” The next morning was the day she died.

When my dad said those four words, “Orli might die today,” I couldn’t believe my ears. I even threw up. I needed to get out of the house and just go to school, so as quickly as I could, I ran sprinting out. A family friend was picking me up for school because it was bring a special friend to school day. In the car my leg wouldn’t stop shaking. I tried not thinking. I was like, “oh maybe it won’t be too bad,” but I was so wrong. When school was over I avoided going home. I couldn’t but I did. And my parents said the words I was dreading: “Orli died this morning.” I knew it was going to happen.

I knew it might happen today, but I was shocked.

Next time you think of a dramatic story, think about mine.

Thank you for listening.

Hana Wildman Halperin is a fifth-grade student.