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Peter Hafford 9/21/12 English 101 Memoir

The Iron Will Life can feel so unreal, because within one short moment, everything can be taken away from you, so you have to try to live life to the fullest. Jeramy, my cousin, passed away earlier this year from a long-term battle with cancer. Jeramy was a stocky middle-aged man of average height who had a brown buzz cut, a scraggly beard and baby blue eyes. Jeramy served our country in both the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps. He was a combat infantryman assigned to various stations around the world. After pain in different parts of his body, Jeramy went to the doctors in early 2010. While there, he received the bad news from his doctor that he had malignant melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer that causes around 75 % of skin cancer related deaths. The malignant melanoma started out as a black spot on his back and in early 2010, Jeramy had the malignant melanoma removed. His girlfriend at the time, Jayme, was there to support him through the whole ordeal. While in service in Iraq Jeramy was exposed to the burning of plastic and other toxic materials and exposure to the sun, which caused his malignant melanoma. Jeramy began a civilian life working as a truck driver for Lowes Home Improvement; however, his health began to deteriorate rapidly, because of his spreading cancer. During Jeramys doctor visit in 2012, his doctor informed him his cancer had spread to his brain, lungs, and abdomen. Jeramy tried to fight the cancer on his own for a while by staying busy and spending time with family. However, he came to the realization that he would not be

able to fight this cancer without some form of treatment, so he went to the hospital. Jeramy was quickly deteriorating because of the cancer. Friends and family alike gathered for a fundraiser so Jeramy could have an operation done. During the operation, the doctors thought they had removed all of the cancer, so Jeramy thought that he wouldnt have many of the complications he had before. I evaluate the situation as heart wrenching, because some people who are so full of life and have so many plans for their future should not pass away at such a young age. Jeramy was planning to buy a home in Turner, Maine, where he and his wife Jayme and their son Caleb could be happy. Jeramy was planning to go help our uncles family before his passing because they were adding onto their house. As my cousin became sicker, my father realized his time was coming soon and decided to ask how he wanted to pass. Jeramy wanted to pass while at home, but my dad was able to convince him to stay in the hospital, so he would not mentally scar his wife Jayme or their son Caleb. Later that night Dale, Jeramys father, and I had a two-hour conversation about how we felt about the whole situation. We also talked about how we had been doing since we had not seen each other for a while. We wished it wouldnt have been Jeramy deteriorating before our eyes. Jeramys plans would no longer be able to be fulfilled, which made the situation heart wrenching. The doctors should have been more thorough in checking that all of the melanoma was gone before allowing him to leave. Jeramy kept fighting even up until the time he passed. I believe Jeramy is happier now because he is no longer suffering from the pain caused by his spreading cancer and he is saving a seat for us in Heaven. The funeral was emotionally stirring, because the family was there, and we had written different short stories and poems about the happiness Jeramy brought to our lives. The funeral was heartbreaking because of seeing the

slideshow with all of the pictures of his life, and thinking about how much life he had left to live. The slide show consisted of Jeramys graduation picture, his pictures from the military and pictures of him with his children. The picture that dampened our spirits the most was a photo of Jeramy just after he had joined the military because our family had so many great memories of him at that age. During Jeramys funeral our family got along better than we had in a long time because of the difference and impact Jeramy made in our lives as a whole, his smile and the happiness he brought with him wherever he went. Even though the funeral was over, the burial service was not. I attended his military burial service on a Thursday, which I found moving because it made you realize how much respect people in the military get from their fellow military comrades as well as people in the community. Jeramy was cremated and his ashes were put into an urn. The urn was buried on a family plot of land. Pete and Dale, Jeramys father, did the honor of putting the urn into the grave. I feel the thing that I learned the most was that Jeramy was not just a part of the family, but he was also like a security blanket for the majority of the family. If they ever had any problems or wanted to talk to someone, Jeramy was there for them. Jeramy showed us he could bring people together no matter if it was when he was healthy or if it was after his passing, he was just the type of person that could make people forget the issues they had in the past. You should live every moment to the fullest because you never know when a particular disaster like this could occur and you should always cherish the ones you love and never take them for granted. I learned that you never know something is truly gone until you miss it so bad that you feel like you are missing a part of yourself and others feel the same. I saw that Jeramy never failed to express his love to anyone no matter if it was to a family member, a friend, or his daughter who came to see him before his passing. Before Jeramys passing I never knew the

difference that one man could make in one family, just because of his personality, his jokes, his love, his care and a magnitude of others things. I learned that in life, there will be many hardships you have to overcome and you cant always try to take the easy way out. You have to try to fight your own battles because they are your own and no one else will be able to help you with them. Most of all I learned to live life with an iron will, to fight for what you want and believe, even up until the day you pass away.

Jeramy Dale Hafford May 30, 1978 - June 7,2012