This I Believe

Marisa - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on November 1, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, family, legacy

When you look at me, I am just an average college student. I am free, but my father still supports me. I am happy, but I still have those bad times. I am strong, but I still cry. Happy and sad things have happened in my life, just like it has to everyone else. My story is not unique, it doesn’t top anyone else’s tragedy, but my story made me who I am today, and I am proud of whom I am.

Some people see me as a strong person for my age, because my mother died when I was eight years old, and somehow I am able to live everyday with a smile on my face. But it took me a few years to realize that my mother was never coming back.

My mother had been a very strong woman, good wife, loving mother of two small children, holding a full-time job, and also serving as president of a major women’s charity. Then she died of her first heart attack that she couldn’t withstand because she was so weak from being sick. I never knew what she was sick with. My father never told me. But he told me that she passed away, the day after the hectic event. I didn’t cry. I didn’t react. I didn’t know what to do. I never understood death until 10 years later, when I finally broke down and truly realized that my mother was never going to return.

I was 18, and I wanted to die. I saw everyone with their mothers, smiling, having good times, while I sat outside by myself, wanting to hurt either myself or someone else, out of jealousy. Luckily, I never did hurt anyone else, but I was still hurting inside.

In the past year, since my break down, I have learned to be strong. I have learned to smile, and learned to love. I could have become the most bitter person I know. I could have been dead. But today, I take my situation as an advantage. I see myself as strong. I see myself as faithful. And even though at times I wonder what I would be with my mother still alive, I am glad to be the person I am today. I believe that even when something bad happens, you can shape it to your life to make yourself better. Every experience is great, whether it be happy or sad. Something is always going to make an impact on your life. So, I took my story and became strong, just like my mother was.