Tragedy Gives Us New Eyes

Patti - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on May 11, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death
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The most defining moment, the pinnacle of my entire life thus far, was in many ways the most devastating as well. After the loss of someone dear I was left shattered. I was angry, confused, bitter, and my faith had been broken. However, in those months I gained something irreplaceable; new eyes. I believe, that through loss and pain we are all given “new eyes”, and an opportunity to get things right.

“Ariel tried to commit suicide yesterday,” The principal told me. “Her mother found her before she died. But she’s on life support.” This was how I received the news that changed my life; in an office with walls plastered with drawings on notebook paper scribbled on with crayons. A week later, Ariel died. I attended her funeral, and even when I stared at her in the pink gaudy casket her mother chose for her, I did not cry. I was praised for being so strong, but after losing one of my closest friends, I don’t remember being strong; just numb and empty. This was how I lived for almost a year.

At 13, it was hard to understand why the girl, who taught me to tie my shoes in a “double knot”, pitch a softball, and write in cursive, would throw her life away. Ariel always treated people with respect, and never settled for less that she deserved. She was a rare breed; gorgeous, adored, and genuinely nice. She was my role model, but I hated her more than anything. I felt so betrayed by her, and even more so by my religion. I prayed everyday for her to make it through, and when she died I lost all faith that there was a God at all.

It’s been a little over two years since Ariel died, and it wasn’t last year that I grew from it. One day, I snapped. I finally really felt things again, and they were all magnified. I cried uncontrollably for hours. Then, something inside me screamed “ENOUGH”! I blinked back the irrational fears, the anger, and the tears and woke up.

I learned a lot from Ariel. I realized how deeply people’s insecurities affect them, and I learned the importance of championing and appreciating yourself. Through Ariel, I gained a stronger sense of self love, which has allowed me to in turn love others. And even though I abandoned my religion, I have since come to rely on it more than ever. Now, I build bridges instead of walls. And I know that bad things don’t happen to punish us. It’s just life happening. This is life through my “new eyes”. And everyday is an opportunity for me to get things right; to love other people, and to learn from them.

I still miss Ariel more than words can describe. I see her everyday; in myself, in other people, even when I flip past a softball game on TV. And the journey she has opened up to me is a never ending one. She awakened me to a new way of seeing, thinking, feeling, and being. I believe that through loss, we are all given “new eyes” and a new opportunity to get things right.