This I Believe

Halley - Glenmont, New York
Entered on September 5, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, hope, legacy
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I believe that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

I couldn’t exactly pinpoint the precise time that I first heard the phrase “there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel” because I feel as if I’ve heard it rather often. To be honest before I encountered the death of a boy so full of life and so full of energy, I never really gave it much thought. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. What does it mean? Well, I’ll tell you what it means to me.

When I was twelve years old I was faced with the loss of someone that I had known my entire life. A drunk driver prematurely took Kevin Everett King from us all and since then I have never been the same. Kevin was no saint… nor was he a straight-A student. But he lived with such a fire, such a passion that no one could help but envy him for that.

A passerby announced the news of Kevin’s death to my mother and I as if we had been complete strangers to Kevin. It stopped us dead in our tracks. It was the first time that I had encountered the death of someone that I had known and I was devastated, but I did not shed a tear. It was the strangest feeling because I had cried so many times before then, but at a time that I just wanted my eyes to burst with emotion… I couldn’t.

In the following days I watched my mother tremble and I saw my father cry for the first time. At the funeral I stood next to my brother, who thought of Kevin as a best friend and an older brother, and he couldn’t contain his emotions. He sobbed at the thought of the devastating loss, but still I could not shed a tear. I stood there solemnly listening to his sister tell the congregation of Kevin’s childhood. My face was vacant of any emotion at all. The church was full of friends and complete strangers alike. There was not an empty seat and there were numerous people standing in the back. Kevin made an impact on that many people I thought to myself. In his twenty years of life I considered that to be pretty amazing.

It wasn’t until a few hours after the funeral that I cried in the privacy of my own bedroom. And let me tell you, those tears were flowing for a while. But during my time of somber observation of my surroundings I realized that nothing but a stupid decision was to blame for the tears that enclosed me. A drunk driver stole not only the life of Kevin, but also the life of three completely innocent girls and surely their families and friends were just as troubled. It was at that moment that I made a promise to myself that I would never drive drunk nor would I allow anyone to do so and I know many people that vowed to do the same, including my brother.

There’s no other word that could sum up the accident more accurately than “tragedy”. It was a tragic loss to everyone who ever set eyes upon Kevin King, especially those who had the privilege of knowing such a fine young man. But the truth of the matter is Kevin’s death has saved the lives of what I can only imagine to be hundreds. And that’s exactly what the light at the end of the tunnel means to me. Sometimes things just happen and we will never know why. We can question all we want to the point of insanity, but that will do no good. It isn’t until we have reached the end of the tunnel and truly see the light that we are liberated from that feeling. Rest in peace Kevin, always. And thank you for being my light.