I woke up to a loud thump downstairs. Slowly, I turned my head toward my clock. It was four o'clock in the morning. I knew I couldn't go back to sleep, so I decided that I could get ready for school early. I slid over to the top of the staircase, and I stared down at the ten steps awaiting me. My feet didn't want to move, so I sat down on the top step and let gravity pull me down to the bottom. Without thinking, I started to head towards the kitchen. There was my mom, lying flat on the floor, clearly unconscious. I went over to her side to try to wake her back up.

My mom had been diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago. It hit the Clark family hard, including my older brother, Nick, my two younger brothers, Jonathan and Paul, and, of course, my parents. My mom had started getting up during the night and falling asleep at all sorts of places in our house as soon as she started chemotherapy. At first, it had scared me, but after a few weeks, I had started to get used to it. In fact, it had started to freak me out when she did not get up at night.

"Mom," I whispered into her ear. "You okay?"

Her eyes slowly opened up. I could tell that she didn't remember that she had woken up a few hours ago. I slowly helped her up to her feet, and I guided her back to her bedroom. My dad was lying down on the bed, and he was snoring louder than ever. She sat down on the mattress and started to lie down. As soon as she was horizontal, she was asleep. I headed back toward the kitchen. My body was in desperate need for a cup of coffee.