This I Believe

Sarah - Little Neck, New York
Entered on May 5, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks
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The Depth of Wounds

I believe that the wounds of life always leave a scar, but the scar’s conspicuity, its depth, is something we can manipulate, for better or for worse. The biggest problems in life never go away, but it is up to us on how we handle them.

Nancy Drew came to life when I was nine. She inspired my friend and I to be just like her-to become charismatic and clever amateur sleuths ourselves. Since we had no robberies or kidnappings to investigate, we created our own mysteries: improvisations romanticized by elaborate twists, being stranded on islands and burning homes.

There was one accessory that broadened our imaginations: my friend’s red tent. The new mysteries often involved two kids going camping, and stumbling upon a bigger ‘adventure’ than they had expected.

There was someone who loved that tent almost as much as we did: my friend’s little brother. While his laughs at first would be an unwanted distraction, we would soon join in with him. We even let him play the role of our little brother.

All of that changed soon, though, and we were only left with a faint impression in our minds of that absolutely adorable smile. At the tender age of two, he was hit by a car and he died.

That was the day that the tent disappeared and went on the highest shelf of the closet that we couldn’t reach. His mother had put it there. It reminded her too much of him-a reminder she neither needed nor wanted.

Some time later, his mother watched us while we played. In that moment, something had changed and it was evident in her next action. His mother had left to bring us something-that beloved red tent.

All of us had stood there, awkward and unsure of what to say. Finally, my friend blurted out what all of us were thinking: “But I thought you didn’t like to take this tent out, because it reminds you of him.”

Her mother replied, “It does, yes. But then I thought that you were my children, too.”

That day was the day she had let go. That tent was a symbol of moving on. That day she had accepted that her son was dead, and she could no longer hide it by hiding his toys, or his clothes. She had to move on, no matter how hard it was going to be.

The pain has not gone away, and it will never go away. That little boy is no more, but in our hearts and minds that little boy always lives. Sometimes his mother thinks of what his talents would be, what his personality will be like. She will never know, and she will always carry that grief with her. But she had a choice, and instead of retreating into depression, she chose to move on. Life doesn’t give us control over many things-but one thing it always gives us is a choice. This I believe.