Learning How to Live…Again

Elizabeth - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on November 13, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Ever wonder whether there is life after death? It seems to be a question of faith or perhaps philosophy, but I think that it is actually not even a question about the person who died but of those who loved that person. I felt my life nearly ended when someone I loved died on September 7, 2001. However, I was wrong.

Tragedy struck my home that early September day. I was twelve years old. I had come sick from school that day, and my aunt had picked me because both parents were working out the in the field. When my aunt and I arrived at my house my aunt received a phone call from my dad who was also out working in the field, and she left quickly to take his call. I sat to talk with another of my aunts who was helping to cook lunch for our family as is tradition during harvest. Then my aunt quickly walked in, looked at me and said quite bluntly, “Honey, your mom is gone.” I didn’t understand. I couldn’t understand. I tried to cry but I couldn’t. I was in shock.

I later learned from my dad that he had found her out in the field and that she had been in a terrible accident and didn’t survive. He told my sister and I this story as we all cried, and my aunts and sister made phone calls to our family and friends. I just sat there wondering why my mom wasn’t coming back to me.

After a week at home and my mother’s funeral I went back to school and though I never felt more like an outcast I tried to become a kid again. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t a kid anymore. I had changed. None of my friends understood what I had gone through; though, they did feel sorry for me. I remained in the GATE program that I had been in since I was in the third grade. I knew it would be what my mom wanted. I kept my grades up and eventually I entered high school in the International Baccalaureate program. I knew it would be what my mom wanted. I managed to work hard in high school and was involved in different clubs and made great friends. I knew it would be what my mom wanted. When it came to my senior year, I applied for college and was accepted to my school of choice Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. When I received my acceptance letter, I realized something about myself. Every year since her death I had been trying to do something for her, to be the smart one, the pretty one, the popular one and that I had finally done something just for me.

When I say that life after death is possible, it is. I understood as soon as I hit my 18 birthday that I could no longer live for my mother. I was going to have to try to live for myself and that is why I feel I am living proof that there is life after death. It just takes years to learn to live again. My life continued after my mom’s death, it changed, yes, but I still lived. I have a future that has been somewhat changed by the past, but that doesn’t darken my prospects for the rest of my life. Life is complicated sometimes, but I believe that living comes directly from knowing how precious life is.