The death of a family member is among the most trying and painful tragedies that can befall a person and their family. I know God doesn’t give his children trials they can’t handle but it took the tragedy of summer 2006 to strengthen me with this realization. My older brother Brett died in a long-boarding accident that summer leaving my family heartbroken and lost. This tragedy triggered a major shift not only physically in Brett’s absence, but spiritually and emotionally through taking some time to put my life into perspective and evaluate who I really was, who I wanted to be and I really believed. Since the death of my friend and brother, I’ve done my best to make the effects into motivation to live and to live righteously.
After Brett died I knew what I had to do but I just wasn’t sure if I had the strength inside to triumph through this tragedy. Brett died on Monday and his funeral was that Friday; the following Monday was our stake girls camp. My mom was the head nurse so there was no way getting out of it. I thought to myself that maybe it would be a good distraction to get out of the house and all the sobs. I forgot how mean and unfeeling teenage girls could be. In the perfect society all the girls who I thought were my friends would hug me and be the shoulder I needed to lean on at this time but who gets the privilege of the society? You know that part in Snow White when the huntsmen tells her to run away and she escapes off into the forest and then she sees all the eyes of the trees and the animals and they are after her? Well I got a taste for a week of what that was like for her. No one was grabbing the hem of my dress trying to suck me down in their nappy roots but their hideous faces and whispered howls were so scary it was enough for anyone to drop on their faces in exhausted terror.
I couldn’t walk anywhere without the heads turning. They would put their hands over the mouthed like that would keep me from hearing what they were bickering about me. I didn’t know how I was going to survive a week of this endless buzz of chatter. My escape to the woods just made everything echo back so much more piercing. Cell phones aren’t allowed at camp but since my mom was the nurse I could hide out in her bunk and call my older sister who helped me buff up my ear plugs that I might survive the week. The night of camp is always everyone’s favorite. We all gather around a huge camp fire and who ever feels inspired to do so gets up and shares what they believe.
It seemed that time was standing still and there was more than enough time to go up there and speak their hearts. This moment of camp was the one time I felt safe and at ease. It was nearing towards the end the fire was merely glowing ambers and I was thinking about what my brother used to say to me at fast and testimony meetings, “you don’t have to go up and bear your testimony unless you feel the spirit.” Those words kept playing over and over in my mind and I knew I was feeling the spirit my heart was fluttering and I felt as though I could float away. I knew all the eyes were on me and if I didn’t get up there soon their scraggly branches would take me down.
When I stood in front of all those girls their faces melted away and I knew my brother was right. Every step I took to the front of the campfire the hurt worries and cares were lifted from me and I got to talk from the heart. Through the course of the last two years and from my experience at camp my testimony of the Plan of Salvation has been truly manifested in my being to new measures. The knowledge that I know my brother lives and is still progressing and is waiting for the rest of his family to rejoin him in paradise brings me peace. My comprehension of church principles brings me comfort and motivation to be my best so I can join my brother and be with my family eternally. I’ve realized how much I love my family and how nothing in this world could more important than the family unit. I’ve come to further understand how much I need my family and how much they need me. They are the most basic and necessary element of my life, and at the same time, the most valuable.
I have overcome many trials in my life and the biggest obstacle has been grief and depression. Not only have I defeated these destructive feelings but I have come to understand them and been able to help my family and others dealing with every kind of pain. Most students that go to college are in search of a knowledge that will help them to make lots of money. Twenty years ago if you asked a college bound student what they were going to college for they’d say, “I want to learn how to make the world a better place.” I would like to second that notion. I will attend BYU-Idaho and search for a knowledge that will help my fellow men and make this world a better place. I want to help protect the sacred bond between the family unit, because I know Satan’s focus is to destroy the most precious gift live offers us, a family. After all the trials my family and I have been through and triumphed over, I believe that we will be blessed and our destiny’s are relieved after our trial by faith.
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