An Unexpected Turn

Lauren - Wellesley, Massachusetts
Entered on March 8, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • 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.

“But…but,” I stammered.

Life seems so simple. It is a thing that I methodically go through each day. Every morning, I get out of bed when my alarm is beeping for the third time, choose my breakfast cereal, and impatiently wait for my brother and sister to climb in the car. This routine seems so ordinary and so common; yet, it is something that I ought to cherish and remember. I often dread the history test next period, or Spanish class after that. Why should I be happy to have a history test? Sometimes, when I am curled up on my bed, tired of getting up in the morning and tired of going to school, I look at what I am doing and ask myself “Why are you upset over this? You should be happy. Ali can’t do this. Ali can’t cry anymore.”

With her whole life ahead of her, Ali’s was suddenly ended. When I was young, she was my babysitter who would take care of me on Friday nights, when my parents would go out. She let me jump on the mini trampoline in my basement. She would play games with me. She would act like I was her friend. I always remember her smiling at me and making me feel important. I never heard her raise her voice, nor say anything without showing the upmost respect. During her first week in college, she fell fatally ill with bacterial meningitis and a few days later, she passed away. My parents tried to explain her death to me. “But…but she was not old,” I countered. She could never finish college, which she had set out to do only a week before. She could not even speak again. I have asked myself. Why was her life taken away? What is the reason for anyone’s life to be ended? I believe that there is no reason, but to act as a reminder of the gift of life.

I wish it could be that easy. After going through an experience, I would learn from it and could incorporate what I learned into my daily life making myself a better person, but I’m not that gifted. I wish I could be happy to have a history test tomorrow, but I’m not. I sometimes attempt to enjoy it, but I still can’t love history tests. After watching many friends and family pass away, I have learned and relearned the importance of life and death. Two years after Ali’s death, her father was killed by a car in a parking garage. In just a few seconds, life changed again for his wife who was now left with her son to grieve. Again, death reminds me how important life is. I hope that one day I will be more successful in cherishing all parts of life, even the history tests.