Hold Your Chin Up

Michaela - Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Entered on January 29, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

“Troy’s dead.” Imagine how hard it is for a 15-year-old girl to comprehend that her only uncle is dead. It is a difficult thing to understand, especially when the reason being is that he took his own life.

I believe that you need to keep your chin up. No matter how down and out your life may seem, it will always get better in time. People go through a rough patch in their life, and then think their life is hell and it will never get better. The little things in life that people worry and get all depressed about are not even worth all the trouble they seem to cause. Life can get better; you just have to be willing to help it along the way.

“Hold your chin up and take care,” is one of the quotes that I live by. It was the very last line in the letter that my uncle left before he passed. About two years ago, I got up extra early for school for an early morning lab. In the pit of my stomach, something felt wrong, but I did not think much of it at the time. I went through school with the thought in the back of my head, and as soon as I got on the big, yellow loser cruiser, I called my mom. She answered her phone with a sort of uncertainty in her voice. I could tell she had been crying, but when I asked why, all she told me was, “I’ll see you when you get home. I love you.” I was anxious at this point. I had no idea what was going on and it was nerve wrecking. The five-minute bus ride seemed to drag on forever. I walked in the house and saw my parents sitting in the living room. My mom’s face was stained with tears, and my dad was sitting with her on the couch, quietly. Then my mom spoke, every word cracking as she tried to spit it out. “Troy’s dead. He hung himself early this morning.” I didn’t believe her. He had just called here last night. He wanted to move down here with his kids and start over with his life. What happened next I vaguely remembered. I think I put up a mental block, thinking that maybe, just maybe, if I didn’t remember it then it never happened. I wish that would have worked and everything could go back to the way it used to be like.

The death of my uncle hit my family like a semi on the interstate. I’d like to say that my family’s doing much better now, but I can’t. I still expect him to be at the family gatherings and I still walk to his house before I realize. The doctor said that’s called denial. It’s a tough loss and it’s something that we won’t get over just like that.

It was a learning experience for all of us, and it taught me that you always need to keep your chin up and take care of yourself. I have days that I get down about things that have happened in my life, but I know that it will all get better if I just give it some time. I have to keep my chin up and look on the bright side. I can’t get down and out about the little things in life; I need to get over them, and keep my chin up while doing so.