How Giving Back Kept Me From Giving Up

How Giving Back Kept Me From Giving Up

The gift of loving and being loved
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When I look back on some of my first hospital admissions, I associate them with some of the worst times of my life. At only 13, the anxiety and depression that I had merely just faced before engulfed me and became almost impossible to ignore. The worst of those memories? How alone I felt. I have two younger sisters, so once I became accustomed to hospital life my parents weren’t able to stay with me at night. And with work during the day, our visits were just visits, and I was alone many days and nights. Don’t get me wrong, I understand. I understand my parents did and are doing the very best they can to keep our family afloat, and that meant dividing their time between me in the hospital and work. Despite having an incredible support team, I did spend many days alone and relied on the resources and people in the hospital to keep me smiling and feeling safe.

There was one night that I was lying in bed during a long admission, and it was just after my mom had left that I broke down in tears (as I usually do). I cried and cried, and for some reason, I couldn’t stop. The silence of my quiet, dark and empty room was so overwhelmingly loud and prevalent. I cried because I hated feeling alone. I was anxious and afraid, I yearned for home, I knew a discharge wasn’t in the near future and I just wept. That night I was so fed up with the reality I was forced to live and couldn’t change. I had two choices: to give up or give back. I could let the depression consume me, I could let the pain overtake me and I could let the exhaustion silence me. Or I could fight like hell to make sure no child ever had to lie in a hospital bed and cry for the reasons that I did. I’m sure you can assume which one I chose.

By deciding to give back, I have a reason to keep going. I’ve met so many kids with stories and hearts beyond their years. Over the years I have made connections with patients and their parents via social media, and I’ve attempted to create a movement that I still haven’t named. It comes with the promise of the company of not another nurse, doctor, family member or volunteer, but the promise of a friend who can understand what it’s like to lie in that hospital bed. It’s the promise of time spent with someone who won’t be intimidated by their reality or surroundings, it’s the promise of comfort in the form of a cozy blanket or a snuggle and it’s the promise of laughter through movies or conversation.

For parents, it’s the promise of someone to love their children and understand their reality, it’s the promise of comfort that they can run down for a coffee or head home to be with their other children, it’s the promise of assurance and reassurance and it’s the promise of understanding and companionship.

For me, it’s the promise of a reason to get through every bad day and appreciate every good day, the promise of a reason to smile and persevere and the promise of a love that is a profound gift to give and receive.

I know that so long as I have those beautiful hearts to love, I will always have a reason to fight. I will always have a reason to persevere. It’s funny because I always thought that by giving back I would be helping others, but it has also helped me so much more than I can even begin to explain and more than I could have ever anticipated.

The promise that I made that night lying in my hospital bed was the beginning of a new era — a newfound love and appreciation for life, a different sense of gratitude, a deeper meaning to my purpose and a profound healing that has brought more restoration and relief than any medication or doctor could offer. My illnesses have altered and taken away so much of the way life used to be for me, but they will never take away my drive, love and ability to give back. So long as another child fights a battle they shouldn’t have, my heart and arms will always be open to them.

In all of these years of being sick, I’ve learned many lessons, but I had no idea that the greatest lesson I could learn was within myself — through the magnitude of the love and desire in my heart and the power of two open arms.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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The Crimes And Misdemeanors Of A Sitting President

Whether you agree with Nancy Pelosi, regarding impeachment or not, the question each American should ask is: Can this nation survive any more division?

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Whether you agree with Nancy Pelosi, regarding impeachment or not, the question each American should ask is; can this nation survive any more division? Is Nancy correct in her comment, "He's just not worth it?" Impeachment should not be used as a political tool to remove an unwanted government official out of office. Its purpose is to bring charges against a government official and once the official is impeached then the legislative body can impose judgment which could ultimately remove the official from office.

Moreover, in the past, this country has impeached two sitting presidents and neither ended with his removal. According to www.merriam-webster.com, the definition of impeaching is "(a) to charge with a crime or misdemeanor, specifically: to charge a public official before a competent tribunal with misconduct in office. (b) to remove from office especially for misconduct, and (c) to bring an accusation against."

So how many cases of impeachment has the United States experienced with sitting presidents? According to www.History.com, eight U.S. presidents have faced impeachment, but with very different results. John Tyler was the first president to face impeachment proceedings in 1843. Representative John Botts of Virginia filed claimed Tyler conduct of the U.S. Treasury although the House of Representatives voted Botts' claim down.

Andrew Johnson was the second sitting president to have impeachment proceedings filed against him. In 1868 President Johnson dismissed Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and according to Congress, the president violated the Tenure of Office Act. Even though Johnson was impeached the Senate would not confirm his removal from office and he finished his term.

With the exception of Grover Cleveland, the twentieth century gave way for many calls for impeachment beginning with Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, and ending with George H.W. Bush. None of these presidents were subjected to the process as the claims never had the votes to call for a hearing on the committees.

There were three articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, however, he resigned in 1974 before any of the proceedings could take place. In 1998 Bill Clinton was impeached over allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice relating to the Monica Lewinsky case. In Clinton's case, the Senate acquitted, and he finished his term in office just like Andrew Johnson.

President Trump is under scrutiny for some of the very reason's other presidents have had impeachment proceedings. He has proven to most American's that he is a danger to our democracy. Trump has snubbed his nose at the foreign emolument clause, creating an open way for foreign powers to pressure our president to stray from his constitutional obligation to the United States. The firing of the FBI Director James Comey and fulling admitting on national television to Lester Holt that he did because of "this Russia thing." This is "obstruction of justice," and other presidents have been charged with this article of impeachment. However, Nixon resigned, and Clinton was acquitted.

So why is he not worth it? First the truth, he won the election. Unless there is proven evidence that he colluded with the Russians to rig the 2016 presidential election reversing this fact will drive this new faction of voters back to the polls to elect another under-qualified candidate. In addition, the Republican Party will use the impeachment as a platform in the upcoming election. Citing the Democrats stole the White House from them.

Second, is the nation ready for even one year of Mike Pence as president? His record as Governor of Indiana is the only evidence needed. He banned Syrian refugees, he reinstated mandatory minimum sentences and authored a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. He doesn't take to Twitter, has the political knowledge, and is waiting his turn to strike like an incurable virus.

Third and even more disturbing is the Republican Party and their efforts to gloss over his crimes and misdemeanors and cite the economy, and jobs. Many won't vote against Trump because of his base; cannot afford to have to explain their decisions to his base voters in 2020. Most fear they will have to go through a primary. Even though if they removed Trump and put Pence in his place they could have during their two-year reign and most American's civil liberties would be a thing of the past.

The voters gave their voice in 2018 and Congress is working, unlike the previous Congress. They have a lot of work to do and spinning their wheels debating the crimes and misdemeanors of the sitting president is counter-productive. History will repeat itself and he will be acquitted.

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