Keep Smiling

By Meg Lyons


On the 15th July 2015 my life was turned upside down. I forgot my keys and found myself sitting on the doorstep of my house at Drama school. I receive a phone call from my Dad; he can barely speak as he tries to tell me about Eve. I knew it was bad news. I get passed to my granny who tells me that the pain my 9 year old sister Eve was having in her hip was not a pulled muscle, but Stage 4 cancer. I can only explain the feeling like someone grabbing your heart and ripping into tiny pieces. I couldn’t respond at first and just stood and screamed as I knew in that moment, I could lose my little sister forever. A vivid memory for me was opening the door of her bedroom and realising life was never going to be the same again, and that’s ok. As she would have said, everything happens for a reason.


My daily life started to be engulfed with thoughts of Eve. Will she make this? How long will she be in the hospital for this time? Could we be told she’s going to die today? I dealt with this by telling myself I am healthy and I’m able to enjoy life, so go out there and work hard to make this life better for yourself. The thing with cancer is that one day you can be on top of the world the next you’re not able to move any of your body without being sick with pain. You can’t hold your mum’s hand because it feels like acid running through your veins. Or eat your favourite food because it will react badly with your body.


I took a lot from my sister. I still say today if it wasn’t for her determination and drive, I wouldn’t be as head strong as I am now. When something like this hits your family, you have to be the rock, stay strong and show them you have control. However, it’s not wrong to crumble, to break down and lose faith. You can’t be strong all the time and that is ok. If you like to cry with friends, allow yourself to cry with friends. If you want to sit on your own, then take yourself off and cry. But if there’s one thing I can say. It’s to never do it all on your own as this is something I experienced… and after 2 years, I finally started to open up and realised people are ok with you talking to them. Your family and friends want to help.


On the 24th June 2017 I received a phone call from my sister Beth. Again, I was away at drama school. She told me Eve wasn’t well and that my uncle was on his way to pick me up. She told me that Eve was dying.


I knew this day was going to come but it was sprung upon me. My first thought was I’ll never get to say goodbye to my little sister. I got home at 11am, my family are surrounding her, she waited for me. They gave me time to talk to her. The image of your 11 year old sister dying is something nobody should see. At 11.31am Eve left the world with a huge smile on her face.


A week or so before Eve died, she drew a picture for my dad. It was sunshine with a smiley face and the words ‘keep smiling’ underneath. She pointed at the keep smiling and told my dad to never forget to smile through life. Even on the darkest days I remember this and can’t help but find myself thinking of times we all laughed together. I promised Eve before she died that I would “live this life for the two of us”. I know it’s a few words but it gets me up in the morning, allows me to enjoy my life with friends and family and gives me hope that she’s standing by my side forever.


Remember you are strong, and you can do this. Do it for them.


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