Hope Keeps Me Alive.

Jacob - Toledo, Ohio
Entered on April 6, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, family, hope
  • 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.

Is there a moment or time in your life where you’ve just felt like sleeping in? A time where you have slept in fear dreading for the morning to come? Has there been a time where you have been afraid to wake up and face your life? I have, and this is why I believe in hope.

I was in fifth grade when my grandfather passed away. I remember watching the monitor flat line. I remember the cold pale look of glossy eyes shedding tears. It was a moment that has forever scarred my heart. I still feel the pain running through my veins, screaming for an escape. I was a horse with a broken leg, helpless, trying to figure out what to do. I might as well have been shot. I remember the decision I made so rash and bold but whatever lifted the spirits of my fallen kin. I promised my family I would always be there and to never let anything happen to them. This promise perpetuated the bane of my existence in the years to come.

Five years passed, life was great! Not a single thing could hurt me; I was invincible. The night of June 15th 2006 crept around the corner. I was lying in bed dozing into a harmonic sleep. Minutes later my sister barged into my room screaming, “GET UP! THERE HAS BEEN AN ACCIDENT!” At that moment, I knew my brother was in an accident, but I was only thinking to myself about the promise I had made years before.

My family and I rushed to the hospital. As we entered the light blinded me, but I was in no state of mind. I was blank, a clean slate. Time was now standing still, a minute was a day, an hour a year. Each glance at the clock caused more despair. Five to six hours later our final report came, my brother, my idol, and my hero was pronounced dead.

Every day from that moment was hell. Every day became a pattern, a maze I could not find my way out of. For years every morning I woke up and went to my brother’s room. Everyday I denied the death of my brother. Every day I choose not to believe in the inevitable. His memories stalked me lurking around each corner of the house.

I felt like a failure. All hope was lost. My promise broken. I was broken. My family was broken. I felt like I could have done something about this; I didn’t know what, but somehow it was my fault. I felt like this for months, years, time passed as fear grew. Then there was a day that came and changed my life.

I was watching a show and it felt like a meeting rather than a show. A place where people with similar feelings could go and express their pain. It talked about how life was too short to live in burden. How a life of burden is a life of hell. That same day I grabbed my keys and went to the cemetery. I tried to accept the death, but I still could not face the grave.

I felt something that I have not felt in years. I felt hope. I could see the beauty that one day I could set my burdens free. Only believing in hope could I do this. I believe that hope can overcome any situation, big or small. It can help us face any challenge in life. And though I still have not been to my brother’s grave, I still have hope. Hope woke me up. I no longer live in fear. No longer am I afraid to wake up and face my life. No longer am I sleeping in.