Family desertion should never mean giving up.

Anne - Littleton, Colorado
Entered on November 21, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • 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.

The first thing I remember about living with my Aunt Jean was her saying that when you are feeling down, find someone else to help and you will feel better….Those words were a foreign language to me at age 8, -especially after mother mothers death and it wasn’t until 30 years later that they became clear to me and made my life a real life, a life worth living. After living with Jean until I was ten, I had heard those words over and over again and still, they never made sense to me…at age 17 when I went to rehab…at age 20 when I was really becoming a women and all through my thirties when I tried one thing or another to fix myself again and again…I would always somehow be reminded that the hurting goes away when you look into anothers eye and know you have helped them somehow….and then IT happened…

I went through a horrible tragedy and thought I had no real reason to even get up…especially at age 42 (the age my mother was when she died)…and when I found my person, it was a surprise….I thought I was trying to get a reason to get up again for ME…and soon afterward, it was revealed that I had arrived at the place my Aunt Jean had told me about when I was WAY too young to understand but THIS I BELIEVE, was the only thing that has ever kept me alive. To help another. To feel USEFUL here in a non-disaster stricken area…no fire, or drought and tornado…not married, no kids and a whole REAL world of reality and pain…just in slow motion….The only real contentment is when we are not thinking of our own little selves. And the only true happiness for me is when I was thinking entirely of someone else’s happiness and had the means to help them not fret for just a bit.