High school Junior shares how her life changed after her brother’s death

By Abigail Warren

The Tower (Grosse Pointe, Michigan)

Emma Peters was getting ready for bed, just as any other typical Thursday night, when her life changed an instant. Peters learned that her 32 year old brother, Martin E. Peters, commonly known as Marty, had died.

Marty was living on a hospital bed in Emma’s home for two months before passing away on March 13 2014, Emma  said. It was a peaceful yet devastating death,  she said.

Marty was diagnosed with a rare type of brain cancer in June 2010, Emma said. He underwent both radiation and chemotherapy treatment and eventually was cancer-free until April 2013. When the cancer returned, Marty was put through the same treatments a second time. The cancer was too strong this time around.

Although Emma was somewhat expecting the death of her brother, in the beginning, it was a very big challenge.

“At first, it was really tough on me. I kind of stopped trying in school. I couldn’t seem to accept that he was really gone ”, Emma said, “However, as the months went on. it got easier with all the amazing support from my family and friends.”

As a whole, the Peters family took Marty’s death and tried to find the best out of the worst, Emma  said.  Instead of letting his death have a permanent, negative effect on their lives, they sought the positives out of the tragedy.

“Of course, it was terrible, and I was upset for a time period, but it really made me reevaluate how I was living my life,”  Emma said. “I tried to use this experience in a positive way rather than a negative one.”

Through this time, Emma turned to family, friends and a  faith-based Christian group known as YoungLife to get through this difficult time, she said.

“Everyone who supported Emma Peters can see what a strong girl she is,”  friend Caitlin Cunnane ‘16 said.

“I can’t even imagine what she was going through,” Cunnane said, “ but she kept her head up and stayed strong.”

As well as friends, family recognized a change in Emma,  brother Alex Peters ‘13 said.

“This made Emma see life in a different way. She was always a carefree spirit, but I think Marty’s death made her want to be the happiest she could be,” Alex  said. “And in my opinion, that is what she’s been doing.”

Marty’s  death brought the family closer together, Emma said. It was and still is very hard on her family, but they know Marty will always be with them and continue traditions to keep him a part of their family.

“On his birthday we all eat his favorite meal which is pizza from Pizza Pappalis, and everyone (over 21) in my family cracks a beer in his honor,”  Emma  said.

The Peters family learned a lot from this experience, Emma said. They learned that family is the most important thing in life.

Aside from her family keeping Marty a part of their lives, Emma individually continues to keep Marty a part of her everyday life.

“Every day I say a little something to him, whether it’s about my day or the food I ate. Anything really,” Emma said,  “I know that he is watching over me and is sending his love.”

Marty was a person who many looked up to, and Emma especially idolized him, she said. When they were young Emma would always look up to Marty, and still does today.

She said, “Now more than ever, Marty is my hero.”

Photo Credit: The Tower

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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