Peggy's Paper Dolls
As Brian entered Room No. 32, Peggy's face lit up with a bright smile. Peggy was Brain's little sister, and was dying of cancer. She was a lovely girl, who charmed everyone with her undying enthusiasm . She would talk non-stop to a listening ear, and she seldom cried, though she was only 7 years old.
Brian loved Peggy very much and each day that passed was like a ticking time bomb to him. However, Peggy amazed Brian with her creativity. She had a collection of paper dolls that she had made. All 62 were tacked on the wall behind her bed. Brian had asked her about the dolls, but she would always just smile, and say happily that they were her friends.
Day by day, Peggy's body grew weaker and weaker, but her spirit remained strong. Each one of her smiles pierced Brian's heart. When he wasn't at the hospital, he would spend most of his time alone in his room, crying as if it was him that was dying.
It was two weeks after Peggy's eighth birthday that she died. Though expected, it broke Brian's heart.
As Brian forced himself to walk into Room No. 32 to collect Peggy's things, he saw the tiny paper dolls smiling back at him from the wall. Unable to throw them away, Brian found a shoe box to put them in. One by one he removed them from the wall, seeing for the first time the inscriptions on the back of each: Terrah, Ivy, Nicole, Amy, Justin, Chris ... and on and on. There was one name that stuck in his mind: Jessie. Jessie had been Peggy's first and best friend in the hospital, who had died about one year ago. Then Brian began to recognize more names, and he realized why they seemed so familiar.
Peggy's paper dolls were all the children that had died since she had arrived. When Brian finally pulled the 62nd doll off the wall with a quivering hand, he suddenly realized that there was still one that he had never seen before. It was purple, Peggy's favorite color, with a wide crayon smile. As Brian turned the doll over and read the back, he was snapped out of his state of denial . Tears flooded his eyes as the name, scrawled in crayon, "Peggy", screamed at him - She had known.
Brian could still hear the sweet voice that he had known for so long, but for the first time he understood her. All the time he had been pretending that everything would turn out all right. All along , Peggy knew that she was going to die, yet not once did she say that it wasn't fair.
As the memories of Peggy reeled through Brian's head, he realized that he could not remember a time when she had been truly unhappy. Peggy, only a child, had accepted her disease and death as a part of her life. She faced most people's worst fear with courage, and determined to make each day that she lived worthwhile. The dolls were a means of remembrance and symbols of life.
Brian looked down at the small paper doll in his hand through salty tears, and he realized that as a big brother, he had known so little about his sister, the bravest girl on earth. Yet it was not too late, he could still follow in her footsteps, and learn how to seek out the best in any situation.
From that day on, Brian learned not to dwell upon life's downsides, but to search for the positives that were sometimes hidden in the shadows of his fears.