Life can always knock you off your feet when you least expect it. Never quit trying to get back up because everything happens for a reason. As a fifth grader, I learned this the hard way. On vacation, the emergency squad and surgeons saved my mother’s life.
As the oldest of three, the responsibility to stay positive was expected. Being only 35 and never smoked a cigarette in her life, my mother had suffered a heart attack. The doctors and surgical team placed a stent to ease the blood flow. However, just six months later she relapsed and needed an additional extensive surgery. With a full recovery, she thankfully to this day has not seen the inside of another operating room.
The first couple of months after the incident were tough for my family. Seeing the bright side of everything was buried under our negative outlook. My mother was the first to see her suffering in an optimistic way. She proved to me that everything truly happens for a reason. The tragic event was not so tragic in the end. It had brought our family together. The relationship between my brother and sister was affected the most. They began to look up to me for help and relied on me for encouragement. For the first time, I was able to support them and they supported me.
The relationship between my closest friends and even my not so close friends was at first tested and then deeply strengthened. The simplest things that were taken for granted before were now truly appreciated. The numerous homemade dinners, phone calls, and cordial gestures illustrated the compassion of the people around my family.
One of my oldest friends was caught off guard by life, knocked down, and put in a similar situation. Her father suffered a heart attack, but the emergency squad was not able to reach him as immediate as they had reached my mother. His story ended before she was able to say goodbye.
It was now me offering support to her. You would think this time it would be easier, giving sympathy instead of receiving it; but it wasn’t. She unconsciously reminded me of the path of negativity you can easily fall into. I understood to some degree what she was going through. I simply reminded her that everything happens for a reason. I knew that she would not fully appreciate what that meant until later.
My belief was shaped and then tested during the relapse. Witnessing one of my friends suffer through something I knew way too personally, was harder than actually suffering. I knew she was strong enough to prevail, but all she thought she knew was how to surrender. Life is worth fighting for and she ultimately fought. Life knocked me down twice, yet I never stopped trying to get back up. Everything happens for a reason; this I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.