As a child you expect the adults to have all the answers to your questions. Why doesn't the sky fall on us? How do planes stay in the air? Why do dogs bark and cat's meow? Where do thoughts come from? You ask all these questions that the normal parent just doesn't have the answer to, so they make up something and hope you don't have a follow-up question.
Your parents do the best they can to protect you from the evil of this world, but no matter how hard they try it's just impossible. You are going to grow up and learn that life isn't some fairy tale you see in movies. You're going to have weak moments. You're going to have moments where you feel like you're on top of the world. One day you are going to fall madly in love with someone. One day that person is going to leave you like you never existed. You're going to fall on your knees crying and begging for help. You're going to get on your knees and pray to just say thank you. Some days you're going to feel everything and on others, you'll feel numb to the world. This is life. No one can protect you from it.
So now I go back to the questions my nine-year-old self wondered and current 19-year-old self still wonders. Why did my mama kill herself? Why does God take the people we love before we're done loving them? Why does the word goodbye have to even exist? I could ask "why" all day long, but there are just some things no one on this earth has the answers to. Some questions only God can answer for you.
I could live my life consumed in anger. My mom had a moment of weakness and took the easy way out and left me wondering why I wasn't enough. That sucks, but it's life. I could live my life consumed in regret. When I heard my grandfather, who had been my father for my whole life, had cancer I did everything in my power to avoid him. I got to school early and left hours after it ended. I lived in my bedroom. I avoided eye contact. At the time I thought learning to live without him would make it easier when he did pass away. I wanted to prepare myself. Turns out nothing in this world can prepare you for the moment they lay that casket into the ground. I failed to take advantage of the time I still had with him. That sucks, but it's life.
I recently had a conversation with someone that actually inspired me to write this article. I don't get to see her very often, but she is someone that I have very much come to care about and love talking to. They're not a family member or someone who I've known for a super long time, but they are someone that takes time out of their day to talk to me about things when they have so many better things they could be doing. I appreciate that more than I will ever find the words to express to them.
I shared a fear of mine with them that I have never told anyone before nor do I plan to ever express with anyone else. I know the consequences that would come with sharing this fear to other people, but for some reason, I have come to trust this person to the point where she was the only one I felt comfortable sharing it with.
We talked a long time about some personal things. Things that ultimately led to a conversation about why certain things happen in life, particularly death. Sometimes death is expected. Other times death is very sudden. Very chaotic.
One day the man you were in love with chooses someone else. Then you get the call that they want to talk to you. You make these plans and then all of a sudden life hits harder than you could have ever expected. You hear the words that the love of your life has died in a helicopter crash and now you're left to wonder for the rest of your life how that conversation would have gone. It kind of just feels like while you were reading a really good book somebody just came and ripped out the back half of it. Now it's up to you to figure out how the story ends. You become consumed with the "what ifs." Suddenly a normal day becomes the anniversary of something you'll never be able to get over.
One day you're nine years old and you go sit in your third-grade class just like every other day. You ace your two times table quiz you studied so hard for and you get that feeling like you can do anything. Then you spend the afternoon with your cousin without ever knowing your mom has taken her last breath. Without ever knowing that while you were so happy, your mom wrote a final goodbye on a piece of paper and pulled the trigger. Without ever knowing that the final process of getting tucked in and kissed goodnight was the last one you would ever get. And then the secrets finally come out and you hear the words that your mama has died. That she isn't coming back. That you'll never get to tell her you love her ever again. Suddenly, an innocent nine-year-old is forced to learn exactly what that seven letter word means. Suicide. A word my now 19-year-old self is far too familiar with.
I absolutely hate the concept of goodbye. Every single one of them is different. Some are for a day, some are for a month, and some are for forever. That concept of saying goodbye to someone for forever is hard to accept. But I had to learn the hard way that it's just a part of life. I used to think that there was an ending to grieving the loss of someone. I thought that you just have to push through the bad days and eventually you'll come out on the other side. But I learned that grief is not something you just push through. Instead, you adjust and accept. Grief is not something you move on from. It is an alteration of your being. So I'd be a hypocrite if I just told you to get over it and move on. The reality is that you will grieve forever.
However, there are events that will take place in your life and they will either leave you bitter or better. That one letter difference is up to you. People spend their whole life grieving over people that have passed away. Suddenly without ever really knowing they wake up and twenty years have passed, and they have failed to live. They wasted twenty years dwelling on the past and the "whys" instead of finding closure for themselves.
So, I'm going to tell you as this person told me. Life sucks, but that doesn't give you any reason to just give up. One day you just kind of have to accept your life for what it is and carry on. After your heart has stopped aching and your tears have dried up, this is where the rest of your life begins. This is the time where you have to pick yourself off the floor, put your heart back in your chest, and put one foot in front of the other. That same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It's about what you're made of, not the circumstances. So suck it up buttercup because the rest of the world doesn't stop just because your world just did.