Throughout my short life thus far, I have experienced much emotional trauma I hope no child has to ever endure. After the tragic death of my great aunt many other domestic problems had either begun to arise or had been there but I was too happy in my own little world to notice them.
My great aunt had died when I was seven years old from a brain tumor. At that time my sister and my cousins, all about the same age, had been unaware of what was happening and were only told that she was going to the doctors. After eavesdropping on a phone call I, and my siblings, had found out she was about to die. I was taken to the hospital to speak with my great aunt being told it could help her to recover. I told her how much we were looking forward to her coming back and playing with us again, but all I received in return were tears trickling down her cheek as she lie there motionless.
Months after that ordeal I began think about how unfair the world can be and how I didn’t notice problems before. I then began to notice many domestic problems within my own household, disputes between my mom and dad. My dad eventually found out that my mother had been having an affair. My sister and I find out later that my mom had had an affair for several years, even as we were children. In January of 1998, my parents had announced their divorce, but later in February had told me that they had decided to stay together. It was later in March of the same year that they had decided to divorce and that we would move out soon.
The feeling of having hope then having it demolished had killed me inside every time. Even after dozens of more disputes between my mom and step-dad, I was not used to the bitter taste of having my hopes crushed each time. Each time, I noticed that my sister hasn’t gotten used to it either. At that point I didn’t want anybody to have that feeling ever. I knew that tragedy is bound to happen to everybody, so I couldn’t prevent that feeling from ever happening. Instead as I grew up I wanted people to have the feeling of their wishes being fulfilled, at least once. In order to fulfill everybody’s wishes at least once, I would have to relinquish my own desires and wishes as to save time and resources for others.
To this day I still live by this, giving people what they want as much as possible as to avoid that stinging, even if miniscule, pain of losing hope. I have set aside my own desires and aspirations and, for now, work mostly to ensure that nobody’s hopes get destroyed, be it peer or stranger. I believe every person should feel that sense of satisfaction at least once in their life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.