When I was twelve, the world ended for most kids my age when our parents found our notes (that's right folks, we talked shit with pen and paper back in the day), or our parents found our report cards with C's in History because Heaven forbid we go over the "Declaration of Independence" again.
Most of us stressed about those God-awful essay prompts that asked middle schoolers, "What is one thing that has made an impact on your life?" Like how is a middle schooler supposed to have something to say other than they won some contest for *insert extra curricular activity here*.
Ironically, I was a twelve year old with an essay that caused an after-school meeting with my mother and English teacher. I guess when talking about death, I wasn't supposed to have so much to say.
I was eleven years old when something inside of me died...I don't know if it was my faith in God or maybe the loving world my parents made me believe was ruined or maybe I was just introduced to the real world. Either way, I wrote about it and my teacher pulled me aside. I won't give you the version I wrote out for my teacher but here's what happened:
Four family members went on a road trip. One came back.
I have written this story many times. I have cried, screamed, cursed at God, and took glass shards to my skin. (I did it once and it really hurt more than I thought it would so never do that again but nonetheless, self-harm is NOT OKAY).
I think I saw pain everywhere I looked after the accident and I just didn't care to try to make it better. I reached out to my mom and she shoved me to my cousin Joshua (the one to survive). I reached out to my brother and he wasn't there, he was with Joshua.
At the time, I think the family majority vote was, "Alyssa is closest to Joshua so she can make him happy... you know since he just lost his mom, dad, and brother." Truth be told, I only saw Joshua a couple of times prior to this incident. And another truth is... I was scared of him. I felt like everyone was thinking I was going to make him happy and if I didn't.. then he wouldn't want to live anymore. I was scared of him because I didn't know how to make him want to live while he was laying in a full body cast.
I wanted to be with my mom but she... wasn't there. I would wander off and find her in a corner crying. Other times she would be there getting ready for work and she looked like a ghost of my mother. For a little while, I think every aunt cousin, grandparent, and even my parents were slowly dying inside.
It has been a long time since they passed. If I could write an essay about how this impacted my life at twenty-four instead of twelve, then I would say:
I am no longer afraid of love.
Losing so much in an instant taught me that every moment I have with my family and cherished friends is a blessing.
I have come off very strong in my life and this is why. I am not going to hold back because along with not being afraid of love, I am afraid of not having the opportunity to tell someone what they mean to me.
I hope one day Joshua understands that his life saved all of us. I hope one day Joshua understands how much we love him.
I pray one day Joshua understands that I, Alyssa love him more than he could ever imagine.
Being able to become* his sister is the greatest blessing God has ever given me.
This is for my grandparents, my parents, my brother, and Joshua.