This I Believe

Rachael - Grain Valley, Missouri
Entered on November 27, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe you cannot change the past, so why live in it.

I remember standing next to a hospital bed, looking at my grandmother who is now dying. “How could this happen, this is just a nightmare I’ll wake up and it’ll be over.” This is all I repeated to myself over and over. This was seven years ago. My grandmother died of carbon monoxide poisoning, after my family and I watched her suffer for 2 months. Through the whole ordeal my aunt always said, “Good things come out of bad, you just have to look hard to see the positive side.” I didn’t believe her; I felt I had been lied to. I later learned that my grandmother’s life was not by any means enjoyable. Her parents died when she was young, she had to grow up through WWII and her boyfriend died while she was in high school. She also had an alcohol problem and smoked; the things that eventually killed her. I was told when she died all those burdens were gone. She could be happy and not have to worry. This wasn’t as bad as it seemed.

I knew she was happy but death is still hard to understand, and the whole thing has left me with a fear of hospitals. To me, at the time, you went to a hospital to die.

I slowly got over my grandmother’s death and was feeling a little better when tragedy struck. Earlier this year my dad got pneumonia and was diagnosed with lung cancer. I thought the whole scenario was playing itself all over again, this time with the most important person in my life. The following 4 months were horrible, my mom and I were in a bad car accident while my dad was in intensive care, my uncle all of a sudden had a heart attack and was also on the verge of death, and I started to take a turn for the worse. I wouldn’t eat, sleep, anything. I was falling into depression. “This isn’t as bad as it seems, once again this is a nightmare and I’ll wake up.” I knew I was lying to myself.

Months went by with doctors lying and not doing anything. I felt hurt and alone. My dad was getting worse and we could only watch. My feelings of pain were getting worse also. My fear of hospitals was getting the better of me; I was constantly having nightmares about my grandmother’s death and felt like I was being pulled back into the past. Something was holding me back wouldn’t let me go. I wanted to be alone, run away from it all. Before I knew it I was alone. My past and all the pain got the better of me. I stopped going to the hospital to see my dad, even though I wanted to see him I didn’t want to risk another panic attack.

Later we switched doctors and things got better. Unlike my grandmother, my dad recovered and is still here today. With the way the hospital was it’s surprising that my dad is still alive.

Weeks went by and I was slowly recovering, picking up the pieces. When something like this happens it’s harder than most people think to recover. The past was still holding me back, but I kept trying to move on. I did my best to keep my grades up and make it look like nothing was wrong. It fooled everyone for a while but not forever. They had noticed something was wrong for the past four months, my mom would come in and pull me out of the classrooms and I was constantly being called to the office. I wanted to talk to someone but when I was asked about it I would just brush it off saying, “Oh, nothings wrong, it’s just a lot of things are going on.” I was trying to be as strong as I could. My uncle recovered too. He’s still not completely better, there is a spot on his lung that can’t be removed and his heart is still in pretty bad shape. At least it’s better than it was.

My mom finally confronted me one day. She told me I can’t keep this up and that she doesn’t know why I’m still depressed. She told me to look at it like my grandmother’s ordeal, except this had a better turn out. My mom said that if my dad had not gotten pneumonia as bad as he did they would have never taken the x-ray that found my dad’s cancer and that my dad probably would have died in about a year.

My mom helped me to realize that it’s over, and that I just need to move on and get on with life. To this day I still show signs of depression, not all the time though. It’s usually when someone mentions or I see certain things that remind me of the incident. I have lots of friends who are helping me get better, and I have one friend who listens to me and understands and he reminds me that I can’t live In the past. I’m happy that he and everyone else are there for me.

This story was originally going to be I believe good things come out of bad, but now looking back on it Sometimes moving on and leaving the past behind is the best thing for us. Now I think it should be, “I believe you cannot change the past so, there is no need to live in it.”