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2015 submissions from the top ten finalists

Essay Seven

Sometimes I find myself in a busy place watching those around me …. Walking through the halls of school, sitting in a crowded restaurant, or even driving through traffic. I can’t help you look around and think about how time is just passing: life just keeps moving by. We often take the comforts and routines of our day-to-day living for grants. Then suddenly, one day, one minute, one second in time changes everything … and the life you knew just moments ago will never be the same.

The day my sister passed away was an ordinary one. I was only five years old at the time, wrapped in the security of my family with few worries and little responsibilities. But even at such a young age, I Knew something had gone terribly wrong. People started to come. There were whispers and crying …. So many tearful embraces. My little sister was gone, and the sadness of it would envelop our home for years to come.

Yet… halls were still bustling, restaurants were crowded, and traffic kept moving. Life goes on. With each new day I found myself settling in to a new familiarity, but living in a home where a child has been lost is difficult. It feels like someone is missing, but at the same time, it feels like she’s always with us too. As a family, we worked on being grateful for all that we had rather than bitter for all that we’d lost. In the years to follow, my childhood was surrounded with love and happiness as I grew closer and closer to adulthood.

Big or small, life has a way of creating adversities and challenges that we all faced with. When things are bleak, I consider it an opportunity to discover who I am, I’ve learned that the first step to enduring sadness, grief, or disappointment is acceptance. I can’t turn back time , I can’t Imagine change what has happened , and most  importantly , I can’t stop living my life because of it . What I CAN do is trust that there is a reason, forgive myself and others for any part played in the situation, and hope that’s I will find the strength to move forward.

I wasn’t born with the gift of endurance… it is a quality that I learned at a very young age. I had no choice… my parents were determined to keep our family together . In doing so, I developed the ability to persevere through life’s obstacles. My mother was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer and underwent an extensive surgery that took weeks of recovery. I was afraid… terrified at the thought that while I’m in the cusp of pursuing my future, my mother may not be sharing it with me. She looked me in the eye and made me promise to be strong. She needed me to step up and fill her role. She needed me to have faith that this would not break us. She needed me….period. What I wanted to so was bury myself under the covers and cry for a good long time, but I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. My family was depending on me, so I overcome my fears and helped where I was needed. Being supportive invoked a sense of pride in myself. I was faced with a challenge, and the positive qualities I possess, I was able to get through it.

I would never expect anyone feel sorry for me for the difficult situations I have faced throughout my life so far. Everyone has a story to tell, happy or sad. For me, it’s all about how your story ends. One doesn’t have to be a public hero. I choose to share my story in the hope that it will inspire someone to make the choice to pursue happiness regardless of what life presents you with. I believe in myself … and that gives me the courage to face anything.

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