This I Believe

Dara - Mount Ayr, Iowa
Entered on September 25, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death

I Believe Essay

Friday, September 10, 2004. It was just like any normal day; except it was the day I embarked on life’s longest and toughest journey. Grief.

I was in Iowa City gearing up early for Saturday’s big Iowa verses Iowa State game when my cellular phone rang. It was my dad on the other end, and I knew immediately by the sound of his voice that something was wrong; then he told me I needed to come home because Ray, my youngest brother, had accidentally shot himself. My heart immediately sank into my stomach and my legs became weak. “Daddy, he’s going to be okay. Isn’t he?”

“No, he’s dead.” The words echoed in my head all the way home, and still to this day echo loudly and send a painful feeling of sadness throughout me.

Ray was my very own little baby doll from the day he was born, as there is ten years between us. I toted him proudly around town everywhere I went, and even when I left for college we remained close. I came home and visited him and brought him to stay with me many times, even after I graduated college and began work. We were the best of friends and never had any of the arguments siblings normally have. Never had I imagined what it would be like to lose him. Never did I think I would lose him at the age of fourteen.

Days, weeks, and months passed by in a haze after Ray died. I somehow got up each morning and went to my well paying office job, and each evening when I got off I went to the bar and drank away my sorrows. I was becoming an alcoholic. No one understood my sorrow, and everyone said, “Life has to go on. It will get better.”

Well, little did everyone know that things like this are easy to say from the outside looking in.

Seven months after Ray’s death, I entered a different stage of grief and realized that it wasn’t all grief causing me such distress, but also unhappiness in other aspects of my life. I had lost the desire to climb the corporate ladder, and quite frankly was tired of corporate America. I began to sober up and realized that I needed to do something for others in order to make myself feel complete. So, after contemplating what to do for a couple of months, I decided to quit my job and go back to school. I was going to become a teacher.

Changing my career choice was the first step for me in realizing what grief is. I believe grief is a journey. Yes, it is a very painful one, but through grief you begin to realize the person you are and who you want to be. Grief causes you to self examine and search for happiness when there seems to be none.

Two years have passed now since Ray’s death, and I am still traveling the journey of grief. Each day is a search for happiness, and with each day that passes the journey becomes a happier one with less pain and fewer tears.