Being an underclassman in high school, I remember looking up to my older peers with wide eyes and admiration. One in particular really stood out to me due to his drive to have fun; Warren, my friend Laurens older brother. He was one of those kids that everyone knew and loved. He was the loud one always laughing and smiling and always up for a good time- the cowboy everybody loved. Even though I was not very good friends with Warren, his infectious smile always made you feel welcomed. Although I only knew Warren for a short time he taught me one lesson I will always live by and that is to make life your finest and live it to the fullest. Although that may seem cliché, and I am sure everyone has heard of that before, after all who doesn’t want to live life to the fullest, it is truly something I believe in. While living life to the fullest, I have noticed that struggles are meant to teach lessons. Life throws everyone curve balls that no one is ready for. It hits us by surprise ripping the ground right out from under our feet. No one is able to see it coming or prevent the unthinkable.
It was October 5th 2005, when Lauren and Warren were on their way to school, about a half mile away, when they got in a tragic accident. Word had been passed around the school that they had been in an accident, but no one really thought it was a big deal. No one thought that something this terrible could ever happen to Lauren and Warren. I was sitting in Native American Studies when an announcement came on asking teachers to please read the email that had been sent to them. When the teacher finally told us that Warren had passed away, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that this happened. The news papers reported that Warren lost control of his truck due to foggy and wet conditions and flipped it, hitting a tree and a rock wall. Lauren suffered only minor injuries; however Warren was not wearing his seat belt and was killed immediately. However, Laurens story was a bit different. I heard her story a few months after the accident as I sat in sophomore biology class. I listened to Lauren’s heart breaking story as she told me every detail imaginable starting from when they got in the car that morning, to the funeral, to how she watches her dad walk out to the tree that Warren had loved and fall to his knees in tears almost every day. I sat in shock.
I don’t feel it is my place to tell you all the details to this story, as this story is Laurens, and not mine, and I was not there as she was. But I will tell you what I remember and the parts that touched me most. My heart broke as she told me that after the car had flipped, she looked around for Warren and saw him thrown from the car, his head facing away from her. Lauren said she started screaming his name and trying to escape from the car that was smashed in all around her. But no matter how loud she screamed, he did not respond; did not turn his head; did not take a breath. He did nothing. My heart broke as she said to me that she was so happy that he had been thrown from the car or else she would have had to see him smashed, stuck in the driver’s seat. She continued to tell me the story of how at the hospital, she kept asking where her brother was. When her mom finally came in and told her, Lauren said that she had never screamed so hard in her life. She said she collapsed; fell numb. At the end of her heart wrenching story she said something that I will never forget; “The one thing that comforts me is knowing that he didn’t miss out on one thing in life. I know he had an amazing time here and lived life to the fullest.”
I realized that what’s truly important in life is to be happy and live it to the fullest. This terrible accident has truly inspired me to live my life to the fullest. During life we are faced with many unexpected events, some good, some bad, but if you live your life to the fullest, you will be happy with who are and who you have become. I make sure I enjoy every day and if I don’t, I get mad at myself because that is a whole day wasted that I could have been having fun and laughing. I take advantage of every opportunity and don’t let the things I can’t control ruin my day. All of these things help me make my life its’ finest. I believe in living each day like you might not be around to live another one; live it to the fullest. One should always keep their head high when they get thrown an obstacle in life. Warrens’ accident proves that you never know what is going to happen tomorrow. After hearing Lauren tell me this story, I no longer just say I want to live my life to the fullest as many people do; I actually put this thought into action.