Summer Reading Contest Winner, Week 2: On ‘When My Mother Forgot Me’

Summer Reading Contest Winner, Week 2: On ‘When My Mother Forgot Me’

Thank you to the 527 teenagers who participated in the second week of our 10-week Summer Reading Contest, and congratulations to Chungjune Park, our winner, as well as to our many runners-up and honorable mentions.

Scroll down to take a look at the variety of topics — from the fight against gender stereotypes, to Hong Kong protests, to rising seas along US coastlines, to the new U.S. poet laureate — that caught the eyes of our participants this week.

And please remember to always check the top of our contest announcement to find the right place to participate, any week from now until Aug. 23.

Chungjune Park from New Jersey chose a Ties essay entitled “When My Mother Forgot Me” and wrote:

When Einstein proposed that time is relative, he was speaking of the physical world. Yet, as I read Kate Neuman’s “When My Mother Forgot Me,” I was reminded of how 5 minutes can feel long and yet cause a lifetime of regret.

As Ms. Neuman recounted the moment in which her mother had forgotten her because of Alzheimer’s disease, I thought about my grandmother. I can still remember my last phone conversation with my grandmother. She had called just to see how I was doing, but I was in a rush that day. I hurried the conversation along, thinking that we would have time later. What I did not know was that 30 minutes after that 3 minute conversation, she would pass away from a heart attack.

I have often been angry at myself. Why didn’t I talk longer? For all that she has done for me in my 17 years, why did I wasted those precious minutes with her on the phone?

While I still have regret and a profound sadness over my grandmother’s passing, Neuman’s words gave me some solace. Like Ms. Neuman’s mother, my grandmother was indeed a mirror. Every time I looked into my grandmother’s eyes, filled with love, she was a mirror that showed me my strengths, highlighted my deficiencies, and inspired me to be a better person.

What I have discovered is that when it comes to those whom we love, there is never enough time. So let us not waste any minute, any second we have with them. Let us live in the moment, and in doing so, make seconds last a lifetime by not having any regrets.

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