Never forget. Live.

Mike - Lenexa, Kansas
Entered on December 4, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

April 30, 2007. This day may seem unimportant to you, but the events that took place on this seemingly normal day have forever changed me. This day I lost one of my closest friends and cousins in an instant. Never again could we ball it up on the driveway together on Thanksgiving. I, however, have come to see the good in this tragic event.

I learned that this loss opened an opportunity I never thought I would have. With my cousin’s death, he left behind his younger brother, Kevin. As the youngest of five, I had always been the younger brother. I could now offer my knowledge and become a role model for a different sort of “brother”. He had always looked up to me, but now he does more than ever.

Through this difficult time, I never imagined learning my most valuable life lesson. I always viewed death as time full of mourning. It had actually always been like that for me. Not always in the form of tears, but just a lack of joy in normally joyful settings. It had been the third family death in a year and a half, and I really didn’t know what to do. I felt as if there was nothing I could do.

That’s when Kevin changed me. Though everyone thought I was doing such a huge favor for him, he was really an inspiration to me. I would sit at night and ask myself, “How does he do it?” It was then I realized Kevin missed his brother so much, but knew his brother would want him to be strong and live.

Kevin and I became so close during this time I now consider him one of my best friends. He showed me that through difficulties we must help each other live in the present rather than dwell in the past. We must not forget, but continue to live.

I’ve found that this small, but very difficult change really transformed my attitude. I now see the possibilities life gives everyday. No matter how terrible life may seem, I am the one who can change it. I have to want it. I have to do it.

I believe through difficulties, the most important life lessons are learned. No matter how big or small the hardships may be, I must continue to live. Never forget. Live.