I believe in having the courage and perseverance to move on from hardships and tragedies and make a difference based on those hardships. I believe in this whole heartedly based on my past success in dealing with two personal emotional situations.
The first of these took place when I was nine years old when my father passed away from lymphoma cancer. It was a time of devastation for our whole family, especially so for me and my older sister because we idolized him as young daughters are prone to do. Although at the time I really didn’t comprehend the concept of death, my mom comforted our grieving. His passing at such a young age impressed upon me the permanency of death, as well as the choices facing those left behind to grieve. I could choose to move forward or sulk in misery and refuse to teach or help others facing similar trials. I chose to live. It also taught me the importance of having loved ones to lean upon in times of duress and hardship.
The second notable experience that occurred in my life, as in many others, was that of Hurricane Katrina. This storm taught me the resiliency of the human spirit, as well as to look deep inside myself to gather the reserves necessary to rebuild in the wake of a natural disaster. I also suffered the loss of loved ones who were not able to rise above the storm’s devastation. A close family friend, who had been with me since I was two weeks old and is like a grandmother to me, had fallen trees that destroyed the home that she shared with her grown daughter. They were so distraught with their loss, the amount of work necessary to rebuild, as well as their lack of financial means to do so, that ultimately she suffered a stroke and her daughter became a substance abuser. Most challenging for me has been the realization that the lady who once encouraged me to keep going, no matter what hurdles you faced, lacked the strength herself to do so when faced with her own devastation. This experience has increased my own determination to help others overwhelmed by such misfortune to make the right choices about their futures. These two personal experiences have deeply affected me and bestowed upon me the belief of having courage to rise up from hardships and never let them get the best of you.
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