It was just another normal summer Sunday afternoon. My family and I had just returned from a camping trip at Sylvania Park in Watersmeet, MI. My friend Brittney and my sister’s boyfriend had just left our house and my sister, Katie, and I were sitting on the couch. Our parents were acting kind of peculiar since we got back to our house. We assumed they were mad at us for something since they sent our friends home right away when we got home. Now they were talking in their room with the door shut. “What did we do wrong now?,” we kept thinking. Finally our parents emerged from their room and we could tell they had both been crying. My dad? Crying? Something must really be wrong. Oh no…someone must have died. Who was it? My grandpa? My grandma? My parents sat down, one on each side of my sister and me and whispered the three most agonizing words I have ever heard in my life. “Uncle Dave died.” I couldn’t believe what I heard. How could he die? He was only thirty-three years old and one of my best friends. There must be some mistake. My parents continued, explaining how my dad’s younger brother’s case of bipolar disorder had recently worsened and he had taken his own life. All of a sudden my world was upside down and I was in shock. I couldn’t think, couldn’t speak, and couldn’t comprehend what my parents had just said. “Pack your bags, we’re leaving in half an hour,” my dad informed us.
My Uncle Dave, his wife Heather and their nine month old baby Anna lived in Lower Michigan, approximately eight hours away. Thirty minutes later we were all in the car, driving to our grieving family. The next week was horrible. A minute didn’t go by without crying and reminiscing about memories of my Uncle Dave and the life he had lived. His death was an event that no one in my family would ever forget. We spent ten days with my aunt but we finally had to go back to our homes and jobs.
Four years have gone by now and everyday I am reminded of that “normal” summer Sunday afternoon. However, we cannot let tragedies stop us from living our lives. I believe that even though the world may seem like it is ending, life does go on. Unfortunately since my uncle had a chemical imbalance in his brain, he thought the only way escaping his pain was death. As a result, I have learned that when times may seem like they are never going to improve, we have to have faith that they will, toughen it out, and eventually things will get better.
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