Jenna - Knightstown, Indiana
Entered on December 8, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I was fifteen when my uncle chose to take his own life. We were not particularly close. He was part of my large extended family and was one of the members I saw only a few times year. However, this does not take away from the fact that I loved him a great deal. My uncle’s life and death completely altered the way I view the world and my perception of life. His death taught me more about the strength of perseverance, and myself, than I had ever understood before.

It was the first time that I had ever experienced such grief in my life. There was so much sadness surrounding my uncle’s life that seemed to explain his choice. He had lost a great deal and he and his family were in turmoil. It seemed as if everything was going wrong. I found myself wondering how some people seem to get through these times, while others cannot.

At this time that I learned the most powerful lesson I have ever been taught. I discovered that sometimes things will happen that will be painful and the best I can do is just push through it. If my ability to persevere is strong enough, I will end up on the other side of the sadness and see better times. I feel that although my uncle could not find this in himself, I am able to. I believe in living for better times.

This message is what pushed me through the months after his death. Despite the fact that I wanted to be alone to deal with my grief, I knew I could not block out all the goodness in the world. I understood that life is a precious gift and I did not want to miss out on any of it. So I continued living my life and I did what my uncle could not: I held on to life.

I understand that not everyone has the strength to persevere. I understand that even if I had understood this lesson before my uncle’s death, I could not have saved him. It is comforting, on whatever level, to find that beauty came from such a sad time. I am thankful for my uncle’s unintended lesson. It has altered my life and created a new version of me.

I have faith in the ability of personal strength. I exist because of the belief that I can overcome all the different obstacles that are placed in my life. I live my life attempting to make the most of everyday, despite the sorrow and bad situations that may occur. I believe in giving the most to my day and being soaked in all the possibilities that each new day brings. I live to show others that the heart of life is good.