41 thoughts on “Grief and Loss

  1. Natalie Rodriguez

    Grief and loss in my opinion are one of the most hardest things in life to go through. In my situation when I lost my uncle I was mostly sad but another part of me was angry, not at the fact that he was taken from me so early, I was mad at myself at the fact that my last words to him weren’t “I love you.” After my uncle’s death and my grandfather’s illness i started valuing life, people, and myself. Not a day has gone by since my uncle’s death that my last words to my family and friends weren’t I love you, or that my last words to a stranger wasn’t something nice. My uncle’s death and my grandfather’s illness have pushed me to be the best possible version of myself and to be kind and loving and generous and to never take life for granted because you never know when will be the last time you see someone. So I leave this saying, choose love over hate always. It cost zero dollars to be kind.

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    1. Valerie Donyen

      I have experienced grief and loss myself and no it’s not easy. I do agree with you on never taking life for granted, because you never know tomorrow. One day a person is there and the next day they’re not.

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    2. Natalie, So much of what you write I try to practice in my own life– beautifully done. In summary, would you say “I believe we must choose love over hate”?

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      1. Natalie Rodriguez

        Yes, I believe we must choose love over hate always and I encourage you to continue to practice those things because a lot of light and love can come from it.

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    3. In today’s environment, I believe the message of “love over hate” is important and I commend you for promoting that message. Your passage was very touching and it is the same sentiment I felt after losing my aunt to cancer, and watching my mother battle mental illness. It opens your mind to the importance of life, and has led me to try to live a more positive life, even though it can be easy to take it for granted. Thank you for your beautiful message.

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    4. Lindsey Petrosso

      Grief and loss has made me a better person too. And, for me personally, I wish that I didn’t have to lose anything vital to gain something vital. But, you live and you learn. I’m sorry about your uncle and your grandpa, Natalie. This was beautiful.

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    5. Allison Jacome

      As i scanned this page my eyes fell on this reading. Now i know you may be thinking, here we go again another “I’m sorry for your loss” from a stranger. Well, i am sorry for your loss but I’m sorry because i understand. a year ago from this passed Monday i buried not only my uncle but my grandfather. So i understand that watching your family slip through your fingers is depressing and difficult but like you said it makes you have a new lease on life.

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  2. “This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.” There was a time when the world was big, complex and mysterious. As a child we didn’t know much but yet we were eager to explore and discover. Under every stone there was something new and wondrous. We were wide eyed, ignorant and curious. But armed with that paint brush we were unstoppable; it’s a wonder why we ever gave that up. I guessed we were in such a hurry to grow up, that we didn’t even consider what we lost. Society took away our inner child and we didn’t even fight for its custody. We lost that world we had as a child, and when we gave it up without even a whimper…that was the moment we truly lost. In that moment we lost our youth, and we sold that for a taste of reality. When we bit that fruit our childlike creativity and purity was robbed from us, by our now grown thoughts. Our once wide eyes of innocence, now squinted with cynicism. We gave up ignorance to now know the meaning of pain. Our curiosity now gave way to complacent acceptance. We gave up the rainbow to paint with many shades of grey. In that search for knowledge, we lost that world and allowed it to end.

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  3. Pain is something that is always being pushed aside and sedated by drugs and alcohol, always to be dealt with at another time. I believe in the pain that someone can inflict on you mentally and physically, causing you to shut the world out. Pain is one of the only things that connects us all. Pain in your heart, head and whole body. All you want to do is forget the world around you. All you focus on is making it stop. The painkillers and alcohol start, it pushes it aside temporarily, but it always comes back. It consumes you until you just can’t take it anymore. Pain is thought of as a negative thing, most commonly it is. No one wants to go through the affect pain can leave on your emotional and physical being. Once a person can finally overcome the pain they feel and look at life differently makes you stronger. We all feel pain. There will always be someone who has overcome it. Stop digging yourself into a deeper hole you can’t escape from. Wait for someone who you know will jump into that hole with you, but already knows the way out. You’re never alone.

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  4. Natalie Rodriguez

    @Mfair, yes I do believe we must choose love over hate and I encourage you to continue to practice those things because so much light and love can come from it.
    @Branden, I am sorry for the loss of your aunt but I am honestly happy that instead of dwelling in your suffering you embraced it and took something positive out of it. Life is so beautiful, continue on living a positive life

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  5. Marcos Teixeira

    Negativity is something that is overly exposed in today’s world, and with this issue, people forget that there is always a light in the darkness of a situation. I remember back to when I was seven years old, and I had gotten my first pet, a goldfish, his name was Eddy. I loved Eddy so much, I would feed him and watch him all day. However, as we all know, goldfish don’t live forever; especially if you forget to feed them. I found Eddy belly up, and I had never felt so sad, I blamed myself. However, when I was flushing him down the toilet, saying goodbye to my buddy, I remembered all of the good times I had with Eddy, and I knew that he was in a better place now. I was able to smile at what I had, and not be pessimistic over what I lost. I know that there are much more grim situations that cannot necessarily be compared to losing a goldfish, however the premise of how to deal with a situation involving loss or hurt does not change. I believe that as long as we are able to stay positive, and keep a smile on our faces. Positivity brings persistence, and with persistence comes creativity and accomplishment. When times are tough, one smile, even if it’s fake, can brighten any situation. For this reason, I believe that when all’s said and done, if you’re still smiling, you’ve already won. I believe in a smile.

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    1. acox1umassd

      Hi Marcos, can I just approve this one and ask you to send the longer version in to the essay contest? See the page that details how to do so here on the blog!

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    2. Ariana Gutierrez

      I totally agree with this Marcos, I remember this summer. My internship was to work at a children’s hospital and so everyday you would see these poor kids so sad because they are so sick yet once you smiled at them and were a little bit silly with them, they would cheer up immediately. Even the light in their eyes would completely change simply because of a smile. It really makes the world of a difference.

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    3. Alexxa Fucito

      I love this so much, and I have my own little fish collection at the age of eighteen and actually cried when one of my fish died even though it was sort of expected due to how I set up my tank and put the fish in it the same night I set it up. I think everyone has the right to mourn the loss of something no matter the importance our loss has in comparison to other’s, and that comparison should not cause us to belittle our own feelings towards something just because something else may have greater value than it. How we feel about something is important, no matter what other people think we should consider to be important. You’re completely right about having a positive attitude through the hard times in life, and I love the passion you put into this post!

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  6. Marcos Teixeira

    It seems that we live in a day and age where we get bad news from everywhere every day; from terrorist attacks in France, to coup d’etat attempts in Turkey. This could be due to the vast amount of information the public is exposed to every day, therefore we are likely to hear much more unpleasant information; or is could be because the world is actually getting more dangerous every day. Regardless of the reason, negativity is something that is overly exposed in today’s world, and with this issue, people forget that there is always a light in the darkness of a situation.
    I remember back to when I was seven years old, and I had gotten my first pet, a goldfish, his name was Eddy. I loved Eddy so much, I used to feed him and just watch him all day. Sometimes I would even sing to him. However, as we all know, goldfish don’t live forever; especially if you forget to feed them. I found Eddy belly up, and I had never felt so sad, and I blamed myself. However, when I was flushing him down the toilet, saying goodbye to my good buddy, I remembered all of the good times I had with Eddy, and my seven year old self knew that he was in a better place now. I was able to smile at what I had, and not be pessimistic over what I lost.
    Now, I am aware that there are much more grim situations that cannot necessarily be compared to losing a goldfish, however the premise of how to deal with a situation involving loss or hurt does not change. A good example of collective positivity in action was back in April of 2013 when more than two-hundred-and-fifty people were injured at the Boston Marathon Bombing; It was one of the largest tragedies of the decade. There was mourning for those who were lost and injured, however this situation inspired the Boston Strong movement, which allowed the people to be positive and to not let the terrorists win by shaking our pride. Those who were effected by the bombing continued to smile, and continued to be positive.
    I believe that as long as we are able to stay positive, and keep a smile on our faces. I know from personally experience that when I am able to smile even in a heavy situation, I immediately start to feel better, and this can work for anyone. Positivity brings persistence, and with persistence comes creativity and accomplishment. Even when times are tough, one smile, even if it’s fake, can brighten any situation. For this reason, I believe that when all’s said and done, if you’re still smiling, you’ve already won. I believe in a smile.

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  7. Keyarra Wilson

    I believe that grief and loss can help shape who you become as a person. As a young adult I wouldn’t have ever imagined how my life would take a turn for the worst just a mere three years ago. Losing your father is certainly a life changing event that affected me tremendously. They say you go through five stages of grief but it seems to me personally the last stage is the most impossible. How is it that people just accept that a huge part of their life is gone and never returning? I for one don’t quite believe in the acceptance stage. I simply just placed my grief into an energy source that would assist me in becoming a better version of myself as my father would have wanted. There are multiple paths people cross when dealing with grief and loss. For one, I could went down a dark road that would have led me ultimately to an unproductive future. That would have been a major setback in all the goals not only I wanted for myself, but also what my father wanted for me. I think the loved ones we have lost wouldn’t want us to lose sight of the accomplishments we had yet to attain and that’s what makes me so driven. Grief and loss are two things I would never wish upon anyone although without it I probably wouldn’t be where I am today knowing that my father is prouder than ever of the woman i’ve become.

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    1. Haylee Pimentel

      I completely agree with you I lost my dad two years ago. I think each loss is meant to shape you as well. I’ve learned to accept his death but it took me some time to get there. They would want us to keep moving forward and to do what would make us happy. I’m sorry for your loss.

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  8. Alison Shaw

    I believe in tragedy. This may seem strange and somewhat solemn, however I believe that tragedy has the power of making the word “life” more appreciated. Today we live in a world of technology. A world of instant gratification and negative outlooks. Today, it is not often you find someone appreciating the most simple aspects of life. Growing up in a very privileged area I found myself constantly surrounded with complaints. Many reading this will find themselves guilty of the same actions. I used to be a prime example of someone who complained over petty things. Someone who was so spoiled by life that I forgot to appreciate it. It wasn’t until April of my sophomore year that I began to look at these “complaints” as something of little importance. At just 15 years old I lost my best friend to a drunk driving accident. I was forced to come to reality, grieve, and ponder life while still doing all the things I once complained about. The tragedy I experienced made me more appreciative. Rather than crying that I have to wake up early I now smile that I have even woken up. Instead of whining that I have to go to school I smile at how privileged I am to have an education. Every day I live to appreciate the simple things that those I have lost will no longer be able to experience. For those who don’t appreciate all that they have, tragedy is the best lesson to learn.

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  9. Alisha Baez Cruz

    In 2011, I lived a tragic nightmare. I was fourteen years old living in Roxbury with my mom, sister, brother, and grandfather, when suddenly one Sunday night while everyone was already asleep, there was a loud, “POP!” sound and the fire alarm went off, ringing really loudly. I raced out of bed and saw the kitchen door had fallen off its hinges and saw my mom desperately trying to put it back into place. In my state of shock I was still half asleep and could not believe what I was seeing with my own eyes. I ran to the window and saw that half of the building was missing. We all started screaming and calling neighbors to rush out of their houses.

    My family and I stood outside looking at the apartment engulfed in flames. I did not even cry because I was in shock. The firefighters put out the fire with gallons of water from their hoses. The weeks after that were spent in a blur. I realized now that I was severely traumatized. I would wake up and hear a fire alarm and see flames surrounding me. Fire alarms startled us. It was difficult to transition back into my school routine because I could not focus. Teachers provided me supplies for their classes and little by little I started getting back on my feet, but I struggled in school for a long time.

    We did not find stable housing for two and a half years. Thankfully junior year, our home was remodeled and we were assigned an apartment and we got to move in. It felt like home, even though everything was different. After some time, I realized I was still holding onto what happened to my family and me. I kept it all to myself, but everything around me was affected, primarily my schooling. It took some time for me to realize that I was allowing that experience to hold me back from living my life. I had to accept the fact that even though a tragic event occurred, life goes on eventually and I had to pick myself up in order to move on.

    I finally realized that I needed to open up about what happened to not just teachers, but family, friends, and counselors. Doing so helped me to feel safe and supported. As time passed, I have noticed I want to work harder on my education because losing all that I had in that fire, makes me want more for myself.

    Now that I am eighteen years old and a senior at West Roxbury Academy, I have come to understand that despite the tragic events that happen in life, there is always a lesson to be learned. Over the years, I have learned the older you get not everything can be handed to you, you have to work for it and not depend on others to do it for you. My job was to perform well in school work, find a job, manage time between my responsibilities and dedicate time to my family. My dream has always been to go to college and become a pediatrician and help children who have been through traumatic events like mine. I want to fulfill that promise I made to myself. Despite the loss of my home and my most personal belongings, it is important to never give up on anything. I want to succeed in life. The day of the fire, many things died, but thankfully, my perseverance and determination did not and never will.

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    1. acox1umassd

      Do you want to post this as a condensed version? We ask that the blog post be 250 words and the longer version can be submitted for the essay contest. Please let me know and I’ll delete/repost as needed. Please do submit to the contest!

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  10. Loss and Grief play a very important role in our lives as a whole. For me my grandmother was, the sweetest, funniest woman I knew who died recently this past April had a very pivotal spot in my life. She was the rock in our family and the day I lost her was the day I knew I had lost my other half. Grief does not even put into perspective how angry I was when they said she was gone. Me standing there to see her lying there knowing I could do nothing made me furious. I still feel numb until this day knowing that I am not able to pick up the phone to call her to let her know I am on my way home, or that I made it into work. Nevertheless, the hardest part would be not having her here to experience me going off to college, but I know she is here with me in spirit. I know that in life there are going to be many times where loss or grief are thrown at us, and that there is a stage in life where we may need to grieve whatever the situation may be. Moreover, that at the end of the tunnel we will overcome those hurdles that life may throw at us. At times like this, we need to cherish the ones we love, the ones who have been there for us because life is short, but we will keep on going no matter what because this will pass eventually, though it may take time we are able to overcome that hurdle in our life.

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  11. Kara Furtado

    I believe in loss. I believe loss is a vital piece of a person’s life. Since I was fourteen I’ve been dealing with loss. It started with my first puppy that I had known since I was four. Her name was Lilly. She may have been my first experience with death but she was decently not my last. At the age of thirteen I lost one of my friends Angel. We were all at a carnival together. Across the street was a burger king and she decided she wanted to walk across the street to get some food. She j-walked across a very busy intersection and got hit by a car. When we realized she had been gone for a while we went to go looking for her and when we did we found her body lying on the ground. I had nightmares for months about this accident. Even though this was very tragic to me but it’s not the loss I remember the most. When I was sixteen I lost My Uncle Kevin who I had spent years of my live with to a fatal Drug Overdose. With that experience of seeing him in the hospital I will never do drugs in my life. On December thirty first of 2015 I rushed from my house on cape cod all the way to a hospital in Portsmouth NH because my step mom’s liver had failed and she was dying. The loss of her life has also taught me how to grow and mature as a person. Normally because I am at such a young age I wouldn’t have had to deal with this much loss but I have. Losing the lives, I have lost in my life time has made me the person I am today.

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  12. Noni Still-Brodie

    Losing someone close to you can heavily impact your life. I will never forget my first time losing someone close to me, because it changed my perception on life and the limited amount of time we each have to live it.

    In 2011, I lost my favorite Aunt to breast cancer. This was one of the hardest times in my life. My Aunt Teresa was the most genuine person I think I will ever know. All her life, she fought tough battles and won, but breast cancer was her longest and hardest battle she ever faced. The night she lost her hardest battle changed me as a person forever.

    I still recall my mother calling my younger brother and I into her bedroom one night, “Aunt Teresa, isn’t going to make it tonight.” She said, with her voice soaked in sorrow and pain. I instantly felt salty tears running down my face like an avalanche of hope and pain. I had hoped that she would win this one last fight, but deep down inside, I knew she wouldn’t. It was over, but at least she was gaining her wings.

    I didn’t understand how you could lose someone so easily and quickly but I believe that everything happens for a reason. Losing her was a reality check for me as I felt a part of my mentality change from a naive child, into a shrewd teen. Unfortunately this sad event in my life forced me to realize that nothing lasts forever.

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  13. I believe that death is essential to life. I came to this belief after my father died of liver cancer. His cancer was revealed to be terminal shortly after its diagnosis, and our family’s local hospital offered to care for him so as to ease our burden. He refused, wanting to die in his own home with those closest to him. For the remainder of his life, he received hospice care, courtesy of my mother and me, in the family home.

    The effects of his cancer were difficult for him to endure and us to witness. But even as his body and mind deteriorated, he felt a sense of satisfaction as his death became imminent. He was a simple man who had already achieved his goals in life—namely, acquiring a home and starting a family—and having done so, sought comfort in death. At the time, his disposition was not one I could understand; wasn’t death supposed to be sad and painful?

    Eventually, he died quietly at home, just as he had wished to. Only then did I realize that his death could not have been resisted. Although it may have been unfair that he lost his life to disease, his disease was incurable. To that end, he was wise to accept his early death rather than delay the inevitable. In one way or another, death comes to all eventually, and I will always admire him for facing his death with courage and conviction.

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  14. I believe that community helps me overcome grief and guilt. For years, I pestered my mom to find my birth mother. I yearned to meet her. Five years ago, my adoptive family and I visited Guatemala to meet my birth family. It was a life altering experience. I grew to embrace my origins and culture. I continue to keep in touch with my family in Guatemala.
    At the age of sixteen I received the news that my little sister died. I find this difficult to talk about. I feel guilty for surviving and having a more privileged life than she did. I felt alone with no one to talk to. I found help and support as a member of the Arlington UU youth group.
    Being part of this community has given me a sense of purpose. Sports in high school also kept me grounded and inspired me to be the best I could be academically and socially. Outside of school, I took part in community service through my UU connections.
    I feel blessed to have been adopted at such a young age. After learning about my origins and meeting my birth family I realized there are thousands of children less fortunate than I am. My dream is to help build a supportive community for kids as they find their voice and their passion through creative opportunities. I love being part of something bigger and I am aware that as I help others, they help me too.

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  15. Sam Dick

    When I was young, I never imagined how death would change my life. While I was in kindergarten, my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. She had been the art teacher at my elementary school since the early ‘90’s, teaching and inspiring thousands of children the beauty of creative expression with her knowledge. Though her cancer progressed and regressed for the following six years, she continued to live her life as she wanted even as she endured appointments, scans, treatment, symptoms, sickness, and surgeries. I didn’t really know the full reality of cancer because I didn’t understand the physiological effects that it had on people. However, I knew that it deteriorated my mom’s body when I began to notice the hair loss, the physical exhaustion, and the removal surgeries that she experienced.

    Life passed, and the cancer spread into my mom’s chest. After her left lung was removed, she had to be on oxygen therapy. Her physical condition worsened and it became difficult for her to get around, but she had many close friends and family to help her when she needed. She continued to teach and enjoy her life with those she loved until one morning in November 2008. When I learned that she died, I felt a numbness overcome me. It is still hard to describe, but it felt like everything stopped, and my thoughts were silenced by some emotional force that flooded my mind.

    I kept feeling numb; all I could do was keep thinking about the fact that my mom was no longer in my life, and that I may never meet her again. For a long time, I had so many questions about losing my mom and how to go on with living my own life, but for different reasons I could not find the answers. Grief changed my reactions to life occurrences, as well as my behavior. Naturally, I tried to find some solace in “speaking” to my mom in my mind, but I’m not sure if that did anything. Still, a part of me holds on to a belief that my mom’s spirit continues on through mine, in my characteristics and memories. That is where my faith lies.

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    1. Jennifer Osafo

      I relate with this so much. It’s so hard when you loose a loved one, it’s almost as if you don’t want to except the reality. Each day you wake up hoping maybe it’s a dream or they’ll walk through the door. Loosing someone makes you a special kind of strong, something that’s hard to really explain to others, but you know it for yourself. Thanks for sharing this!

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  16. Haylee Pimentel

    Two years ago I lost my dad and a boy that I considered to be a really close friend just weeks apart. Like most I was forced to grow up quicker than expected but I learned a few things along the way. I realized as I was helping plan a funeral that things sadly happen to shape you into the person that you are meant to be even though in that moment it doesn’t feel like it. It pushes you to reach your true potential. When at the moment you are so bitter, angry, and sad that all you want to do is give up. I spend a lot of time sitting in the cemetery remembering all the good times I had. That on one particular day the greatest advice my dad gave me popped into my head. He once told me “go to school, get a job that makes you want to get up every morning. This desire and drive to do something that made me happy only got stronger. When Angel died I realized he would never go to prom, graduate high school, or college, he would never get married and have a family because in the blink of an eye he was gone. From that point on I was even more determined to live each day like it was my last and go for my dreams. That’s when I fell in love with photography. I’ve spent the last two years going into the woods to take pictures of the animals or the beach to try and get the perfect picture of the waves crashing up against the shore. That come this fall I will be pursuing a degree in the arts and I have Angel and my dad to thank for that.

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  17. Jazmine Jimenez

    I believe in forgiveness.

    The general definition of forgiveness is the deliberate decision to let go of feelings of resentment or a grudge towards a person or group who has cause you harm in any way… regardless of whether the forgiveness is deserved.

    Its important to remember that forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from the captivities of holding a grudge or being in the state of anger. With that being said, forgiveness starts with you. The first person, no matter the situation, that needs to be forgiven is you. You must forgive yourself for crashing. Forgive yourself for letting the pain you suffered overpower you. At that moment that you are able to forgive yourself, truthfully… it will empower you to recognize that you will not let that pain define you. Thus, allowing you to heal and continue to progress in your life.

    I believe in forgiveness.

    Martin Luther King Jr. said “ We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” Love makes this world go around. If we cannot forgive our loved ones then how can we love one another unconditionally?

    I believe in forgiveness.

    At one point in my life, learning to forgive was my only option to get myself out of dark hole of grief. And I could not thank God enough for giving me the power to do so because if it want for me making that decision to let go of all that bottled up anger… I would not be who I am or where I am today. And for that, I am forever grateful.

    I believe in forgiveness.

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  18. Colleen Riley

    I believe in the number 33. Six years ago, my life was significantly altered. Six years ago I did not know the random significance of a purple ribbon, the color blue, or the number 33. Six years ago my roll model, Fallon passed away and with that came lessons. Lessons to love, lessons to hope and lessons to believe.
    Bad days became good ones because I drove off exit 33. Sad days became happy because I looked at the clock at 3:33. I began to believe, and during that period of grief I did not think that was possible. Watching sickness take over someone’s body is heartbreaking. Grief tries to steal joy, cause tears and stop belief. It isn’t until you find hope that you enjoy life again. On August 23rd 2010, my life stopped. It wasn’t until December 19th 2012 at 3:33 PM that my life started again.
    33 is a chance of rain in a drought. 33 is a winning race after a tough defeat. 33 is a glimmer of hope. When I come across the number, I picture her, and I hear “GOAL, number 33 Fallon Finegan!” A smile comes across my face and I am reminded that she isn’t too far away. I become happy again.
    33 turned a situation clouded with sadness, to an opportunity for a smile. I rep the number 33 on my jersey because I want to keep believing. I proudly wear 33 on my Umass Dartmouth volleyball uniform to keep Fallon in my life.

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  19. Trevere Bougouneau

    I will never understand how someone can be so quick to take another’s life. I may never understand how someone can pull the trigger without first thinking of how many people will hurt. I may never understand how a murderer can live the next day with that on their conscious. How they can eat, sleep, work, knowing they took a being off of this earth. Knowing they stole a beautiful being from their family and friends. I understand how it feels to cry all day at school after finding out someone you love was murdered. I understand how it feels to skip your League meet due to the depression it caused. I understand how it feels to see all four of your older brothers cry for the first time. I understand how it feels to desperately hope one day it all isn’t real; that one day, he will post back on my wall saying “I’m still here T” and that everything would be some crazy ugly joke. However, I’ll always understand the feeling of that wish never coming true. I believe that losing someone you love can change who you are as a person. It may make your soul cold and bitter or it may mold you to appreciate the little things in life a lot more. Before losing my older cousin, he told me “Stay up, forgive the family for all they’ve done because they’re all we got in this world.” They are all we’ve got in this world.

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  20. Taylor Wade-Robinson

    “Things change, friends leave and life doesn’t stop for anybody.”

    Ironically, I found that quote in my freshmen year of high school from a very popular book I was reading called the Perks of Being a Wallflower. I went to digital studio that day, created a visual including everything on this earth that I loved, and smack dab in the middle was that quote. It hung in my room for a long time. One day in particular I looked at it and realized that the things I loved were outdated. After staring at the poster for awhile I realized once more that this quote did not lie. Throughout the years things did change, and my die hard love for Jared Leto turned into a brief admiration. That I thought would never happen in a million years. The quote burned in my mind, but as the poster came down, so did
    a lot of my friendships. Some of them I tried to save and others just couldn’t be, but throughout all this change I found out more about myself each and every time and eventually I accepted it as a good thing.

    Unexpectedness.
    It’s a principle of life. You learn to cope with it and accept it because you can’t exactly avoid it.

    An unexpected change in my life happened when I lost my best friend of many years. Our worlds split into two and we became different people. Perhaps in my own unique situation it was the best thing that happened for me. For once in a long time, I got to think about about my decisions and problems as my own and how to maneuver my feelings as my own. And so you may ask how this ties back to my point?

    Well, just like the visual I made that day during freshmen year I was aware of everything I loved at that point of time. But time went on, and things definitely changed. I was changing. I am changing. People think of loss as a bad thing but I believe that through loss and change you can find yourself. There’s time to stop and dwell but that’s not the efficient way to use it. Instead, learn from the lesson and grow into something bigger.

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  21. Lidia C.

    I believe in forgiveness.
    As I was growing up I started noticing someone was missing in my life and that was my father. Without knowing the reason why he was not there, my mother would cover up for him. She would inform me he worked overseas. I waited for years but my father never came back. At that time I was the age of 3. As I was growing up I started to lose my memory of who my father was. Even though I did not receive any calls, birthday cards, or anything on holidays from him, I still wanted to meet him and spend time with him. I would always sit down and think “ how I would react if I met him? Would I jump? Would I cry? or Would I just start questioning him? The first question I would ask is why did you leave us?” As I thought of my reaction I would think of what I would receive in return. In my mind I was receiving love from my father but I was scared to not expect the same in reality. I always told myself I would not allow him to enter my life. I was not able to think positive about him. It was until February 12, 2015, the day my grandmother passed away due to throat cancer. I felt like a piece of my heart was taken away. It was devastating to hear what had happen. Throughout all of the pain my family and I had suffered from her death. It seems like a miracle came out of it. I met my father for the first time in my 19 years of living. It felt like my dream became reality. As he plead for forgiveness, in my mind there was rejection. But knew I had to forgive him in other to forget about the time lost. The love he showed me after forgiving him, allowed me to forgive and forget about the bad things that happened to me. And hold on to the positives.

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  22. Wilson Tiburtino

    When you meet someone for the first time, you seldom think of how or when they will
    die. You may think of the common interests that you share, or maybe what town they grew up in
    and how many siblings they have, but never about their death. When a person unexpectedly
    passes away, with no real warning or forethought at all, that to me is the hardest part of loss.

    While I was in boot camp, I became good friends with this one particular person. We
    lived on opposite sides of the country; lived completely different lives, yet became close. He and
    I, along with the rest of the forty eight men in our unit, bonded in the coming two months. A
    quiet man, he seemed to almost float on through boot camp; he did exceptionally well on his
    examinations and had no issues with his fitness testing. The day we graduated from basic
    training I remember seeing him and his mother embrace for the first time since he left for the
    airport. His mother almost tackled him to the pavement, with tears streaming down her face.

    After the graduation we all said our goodbyes and exchanged contact information,
    promising to keep in touch with one another. He and I stayed in contact through the following
    months regularly. A couple months ago I received a call from another friend a mine from boot
    camp. He explained to me how the same friend, whom I had talk to no longer than two weeks
    ago, took his own life when he got deployed.

    I’m not sure of his motives. I don’t know what he was thinking and I don’t know why he
    felt he had no one to reach out to; why he felt so desperate when he seemed to have everything
    going for him. I don’t know why he is gone, and that to me is the hardest part of loss.

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  23. Joseph Manta

    I believe that grief and loss plays an important role in my life. My grandmother, a second mother to me that used to take care of me when I was a little boy, has just been diagnosed with cancer this year and has been fighting through all the pain, this past August I went to Peru to visit her to she how she is doing. She was all fine , until i got the news right when I was leaving back to Boston that she only had a couples of days left. As i am writing this my grandmother is in the hospital trying to fight her disease. She used to tell me when she came to visit us from Peru that one day I will become a successful kid and i am lucky to get an education that they can’t get in Peru, she is my inspiration to go to school and be successful in life, even though she won’t be here anymore to push me , she will always be with me no matter where i am . Losing my grandmother pushed me to get my education in something i love not something that someone wants me to do and to never give up on my dreams. Even though i didn’t get to say goodbye to her personally, i know she knows i love her very much. Grief and loss may be tough at first for me it has helped me to follow my dreams on being successful.

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  24. Samuel Badejo

    On June 6, Graduation Day, was a day of celebration and farewell to the high school I spent the last four years at and to all my friends. Even though we would be going on our own paths did not mean we would not all be together again. At least that is what I thought.

    On August 16, 2016 I got a text message from a friend. “Did you hear what happened to Sunny?” is what the message said. I was thinking that he was in the hospital but it was even worse than that. Sunkashka Soch, or Sunny, had died. When I found out I was shocked. I told my Stepmom I broke down. On the 18th was the wake. It hurt seeing my friends and Sunny’s family cry. It fully set in when I saw him lying in the coffin. The 20th was the funeral and was just as painful as the wake. That would be the last time I would see Sunny’s face.

    I realized that life does not always go the way we expect it to. Life goes on, people come and go, and people die. Even though that our close ones pass, we have to live life for them to the fullest. We should never forget all the good things that they have done for us. For whatever tragic event, like the death of someone close, you have to be able to pick yourself back up and live life and do good for everyone.

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  25. Alana Bassett

    I believe in scabs. A scab is a layer our body grows to protect a cut on our skin. Once a scab forms over a cut, the healing process begins. The healing process is never a quick and easy situation. One of the most difficult healing processes is grief. What does grief have to do with scabs you’re probably thinking. To me, the scab is the masking of our feelings. In Today’s society a lot of people going through depression, anxiety, or suffering are judged. We are told how we should feel. Being raised this way taught many of us to respond with “I’m okay” or “I’m good” when confronted with how we are doing. Telling yourself and others you are okay when you are not just to keep from explaining what’s really going on is a scab. On the outside many look fine but under that masked protection is a much deeper pain. Just like a scab on a cut, after enough time the scab goes away. Sometimes it is picked off by the person wearing it and sometimes it goes away on its own. The people who force themselves to get up and live every day to the fullest and force happiness on themselves, are the people who rip their scabs off. The others who suffer until one day they cannot cry anymore, those are the ones who leave their scabs alone. Both healing processes are okay and all feelings are valid. I believe in scabs.

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  26. Nicole Oliveira

    I believe in the law of conservation of energy.
    For those who are unfamiliar with this theory, it has many caveats that would take an entire lecture to discuss, but it states most crucially that energy cannot not be created, nor destroyed – only transferred and transformed.

    This concept was an important part of my Chemistry curriculum, as I needed it to understand questions like, “What is the enthalpy of two hydrogen atoms reacting with one oxygen atom to form water?” It was one of those vocabulary words that disappear once the AP exams have concluded. I, inevitably, would have fallen to this entropic “memory death” should I not have needed it to cope theoretically, rather than realistically, with what happened around a month after my exams.

    A wonderful young woman, who I regret not spending enough time with, died a few days before her graduation – tragically, violently, and announced unexpectedly. I would never face the light of her life again – and that ferocious, iridescent vitality, smothered before it’s wick could burn low.

    In the nights and days that followed, my life looked like one of my Chemistry handouts – lots of question marks, problems I didn’t understand, and devoid of emotion. I would, however, do her a shame, do my Chemistry teacher a shame, and do my English class – the class I met her in – a shame, should I hand in an incomplete assignment. I believe in the law of conservation of energy; and her energy could never be destroyed – just transformed. To die, to give up, would be to forget that; and to forget her. She is eternal – and I believe, solemnly believe, in the peace this equation has brought me to.

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  27. Grieves and losses, the things people tend to keep in the back of their minds and sometimes wish to forget. Everybody has or will deal with grieves and losses in their lifetime and the thought of it can be troubling at times. In the world we live in now we have so many distractions around, it allows us to cope with or even sometimes forget about the things we do not want to think about. However, the grieves and losses we face in life can shape who we are and become in life. Losses can help us become stronger and subconsciously allows us to appreciate our own lives even more than we did before. There are a great amount of losses and grievances that I have dealt with in my life that has not only devastated me, but built me back up to be the stronger and better person I am today. Even though these memories of grievance are difficult to deal with at times they are a constant reminder of the little things in life we take for granted everyday.

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  28. Savannah Melo

    Grief and loss are one of the hardest things to deal with in life. Especially in this day and age, we lose more people to illness than we do to anything else in this world. Personally I have lost some very important people in my life due to the same illness. Although these are tragedy that no young person should have to go through these tragedies are what make us what we are today.
    At 11 years old you’re typically only worried about what time your favorite television show comes on or what your mom made for dinner. But my life at 11 years old was a little different from that. I was worried if my best friend was going to live to see another day of life. Megan was diagnosed with leukemia and within 18 months God had taken her. At 11 years old the hardest decision that you should have to make is what pair of shoes you’re going to wear that day, not if you’re going to receive chemo therapy or not. Dealing with loss at such a young age changed my life completely. It brought a new feeling and emotion that I had never felt before, a feeling that I didn’t know how to deal with.
    Just when I began being okay with the fact that I lost my childhood best friend I was a sophomore in high school. That seems like a long time I see that, but that type of loss especially at such a young age isn’t easy to get over. I had just been getting close with a girl name Jenelle. She was the loudest mouth in the room always and the attention was always on her no matter what the situation was. She was always there for me and my life was never just Savannah’s life anymore it was Savannah and Nelly. Neither of us were invited anywhere without each other. Sadly once again Jenelle was diagnosed with Ewings like Sarcoma and it took over her life. She couldn’t come to school anymore, she was always in the hospital getting all types of treatments and surgeries. The tumor ended up growing and paralyzing her from the waste down. From then on things were never the same. This past November Jenelle passed away and since then nothing has been the same. I’ve learned to deal with loss but that didn’t make going through that again any easier, especially with having such a close relationship with her. Until this day I still have a bunch of Jenelle’s stuff at my house the clothes she used to leave when she slept over, school stuff and memories that will last will last a lifetime.
    Heavy heartedly, it’s still not over. Just a little over a month ago I lost someone who I never thought I would lose. My grandfather who has been by my side my whole life passed away after fighting a short battle with lung cancer. After going through 2 losses that was a very similar feeling, losing my grandfather was a feeling that is unexplainable. Somebody who was in my life for 18 years who I spoke to every day was suddenly gone.
    The losses that I have face throughout my life shaped me into to who I am today. I will forever have the memories that I have shared with the people who I have lost, but it will never be the same. Best friends are family at the end of the day and losing someone in your family makes you lose a part of yourself.

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  29. MacKenzie Holmes

    We all experience loss within our lives, in one way or another. With each loss I believe we have a choice; to allow this loss to be negative in our lives or we can turn the loss around and make it into gain; a positive experience. Recently I lost my best friend to a difference between the two of us. She decided that another aspect within her life was more important than our friendship. At first, I was angry with this choice but, instead of remaining angry, I chose to turn the situation into a gain. From doing this I gained a deeper sense of love. I learned that even with a simple task each day, such as smiling, giving a hug or just remembering someone’s name, I could make some else’s day a bit brighter. In a world where we lose people each day, what is more important than lifting the shade of gloom from those around us? The answer is nothing; nothing is more important in this world than driving out the darkness with light. I don’t want to add any more darkness to this world, no matter how irrelevant my personal darkness is in the grand scheme of things. I gained a deeper sense of respect for people who are different than me. I learned to love people regardless of our differences and with this new understanding of love, I have brought in a more light than there was before. Love is light and loss is gain.

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