This is what I believe: I believe that death inspires a person more than life. You never seem to reflect on the times you’ve had with a person until they are no longer in your life. When you lose someone, everything that you know about them is filed away into some space in your brain, to comfort you when you feel the loss of that person so deeply. The lessons a person tries to teach you while they are living never seem to sink in until you reflect back upon all of your times with them, every word, every conversation. I can pull an example of this from my own life.
I once knew a woman who taught me this lesson. You might be able to tell by the beginning of this that this woman died, and the lesson she taught me was one of the most important things I have ever learned. I first saw her when I was twelve years old. She had that dry sense of humor that any twelve year old girl couldn’t possibly find entertaining, only intimidating. She was a teacher at the middle school that I attended. When I was thirteen, I had her as my language arts teacher. When I first found out that I was in her class, I couldn’t help feeling scared. Every time I had seen her in the hallway, she had a hard face and I was sure that she was the meanest woman I would ever know. As the year moved on, I began to love her, just as many other students did, when we saw that we held a special place in her heart. She always had a kind word to say and soon, we were all laughing at her dry wit. I remember one day with her so clearly. It ws the day that some of the students in our class were supposed to give presentations on topics of their choice. When she found that not one of her students was prepared to give their presentation, she cried, showing her disappointment in her students’ lack of motivation, when any other teacher would have expected it. She truly cared for the success of all of her students. I heard when I was fifteen and a freshman in high school that she had died of cancer, a disease we had all learned about a year before that she was fighting. She taught me to care about others and their achievements and successes, not just my own. I’m sure that this is a lesson I would not have learned so well had she not died. After her death, when I was so hurt, I began to wonder what memories I would keep of her for my whole life because I was sure that I never wanted to forget anything about her. This is when I realized that, sadly, I had never really learned any of life’s important lessons while she lived. When I acknowledged this, I found that I had been more inspired in her death than in her life. I have seen many more examples of this from the lives of others, but her death was the one that inspired this great epiphany.
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