Tragedy—How It’s Motivated Me to Live a Healthier Life

Posted: August 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

I have posted this and deleted it. I have opened and closed my computer three separate times in the past 45 minutes. This is by far the hardest post I’ve had to publish. Part of me doesn’t want to share this much personal info with you… but part of me knows I have to—for you and for me. Because I have no idea who it could influence and I’m sick of not doing something when I have the chance to.

I am going to be upfront and tell you all that this Motivation Monday’s post is personal. I talk about a tragedy that I am facing right now. I talk about God.

"And these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is Love." - 1 Corinthians 13:13

Tragedy. We’ve all experienced it. It’s a noun, can be big or small, and can affect our souls more than imaginable. I’ve been there. A lot, actually. Some days more than I think a 22-year-old should have had to go there. But who am I to say? At the end of the day I’m a better, healthier person for fighting through to the other side.

I was having a very lonely day yesterday. Not to mention I’m sick. Not a comfortable combination. God sent me a gift, though—a friend I hadn’t seen in a year. We met up and chatted for a while. It was nice to see him again. God is good like that.

However, God sent me another surprise shortly after, this time not as pleasant. In fact, it was very much the opposite. I got word that my friend—one of my college roommates—my college boyfriend—my soccer teammate—my good friend, was dead. I am told that he…. I don’t like to say it out loud because frankly, I hate the sound of it and still can’t imagine it.

This guy was great. He was hilarious and didn’t give a rip about what others thought about him. He wore ripped jeans or pj pants, girl hoodies from Forever 21 over Jesus t-shirts, and didn’t own a winter jacket. (We called him emo J) He was a great soccer player, an amazing example of how to be who you are no matter what, a pretty good cook, a great beer pong player, and a very sweet boyfriend. Roommate-wise, well, let’s just say I learned a lot about living with boys when I lived with him! We had many-a good times together, though. Ones that I still tell people about. Ones that I wouldn’t trade anything for.

I can’t fathom that he’s gone. The past 24 hours has been beyond emotional. It’s like I regained a part of my memory that had somehow been lost and it all came back like a tidal wave. I cried. Then I felt numb. Then I began to remember things like they happened yesterday. Then I slipped into a restless sleep only to wake numb again today. I felt like today I just existed. And every few minutes I thought about him.

My other college roommate (who also lived with us) and I had lunch today and we went back and forth with “Do you remember whens…” It felt natural to talk about him. We laughed and shook our heads over the good, bad, ugly, and funny… and then dropped them.

Why hadn’t we stayed in touch with him? What kept us from talking to him since we graduated a year ago? Sure, I had chatted with him here and there, but it had been a few months.

I started to wonder what had made him so sad. Why he couldn’t find peace. Why he felt like he only had a few options left.

I started to wonder what I could have done for him. Could I have done anything for him? Who knows.

But I do know this: this tragedy sparked in me a drive to be a more caring person. A more attentive friend. A better daughter. Sister. Aunt. Fitness instructor. Stranger.

You never know who is hurting, how much, and why. But you can be kind. You can take time to talk. You can share your time with someone who needs listening ears. You can encourage someone to walk forward, no matter what, and that you’ll walk with them if they want. You can smile at people and say “hello.” Kindness and smiles are free… and they are proven to make you live longer.

Which leads me to this: I think one of the best things you can be in life is optimistic. Optimists have faith. Whether it’s faith in a higher being, like I do in God, or faith in the fact that where there are bad times, there are also good times around the corner. Because let me tell you—I’ve been through bad times. I’ve cried myself to sleep more times than I can count. My soul has ached, wept, and torn. But I choose to walk forward every day. No matter what. I may glance back or even pause, but I don’t stop. Even if my steps are small, they are steps. I find happiness in anything I can, even if it’s something small. I walk through the pain because I know that at some point, I will smile and laugh again. Even if it’s for a minute. That’s when you take that minute and hold onto it as tight as possible. You look at it, smile at it, and keep that happy thought with you forever.


*End Note: I wrote this not to stir up feelings of pity for myself nor do I wish people to get mad at me for writing about this too soon. I debated long and hard about all of this but decided that a tragedy is a tragedy – it’s not the first and it surely won’t be the last. If I can inspire one person to be optimistic today instead of the opposite, then this post has done it’s job.

  1. Jac says:

    Very strong words. Keep the faith, and don’t let anything bring you down. I’m sorry for your loss.

  2. You are a wonderful friend, human being, and light in the dark, Kels. Never doubt that 🙂

  3. spewingwords says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your friend. If there’s anything I can do let me know. If you want to talk, I’m here.

  4. A few quick things:

    I’m glad that you decided to keep this up, after waffling on it for a bit. If nothing else, it’s obviously something that you wanted to get off your chest and, as you know, writing can be very therapeutic. I know that it can help in the healing process, just to have an outlet for the feelings that you have, and more often than not those things are best conveyed in writing.

    I absolutely agree with you that being optimistic is a great way to live life. Why live your life thinking that everything is bad? Why always be down? I completely understand that there are some forces beyond our control that can bring all of us down, but (most of the time) those are temporary. There needs to be optimistic people in this world, too, so those that are down about things have someone to go to, someone to talk to, that would give them a different perspective on things, and show that things aren’t as bad as they seem.

    I don’t think anybody that reads this will think that you’re trying to garner sympathy. In fact, I would wager that most everyone, if not indeed everyone, that reads this will be inspired to live their lives with just a little more hope, a little more happiness, and a little more optimism.

    I’m very sorry for your loss and, as always, if you need anything let us know.

    • Again, Martin, thanks for reading. I really appreciate your thoughts on everything, but of course, your support and friendship means so much, too. People like you – and all of the others who have commented! – help keep me optimistic 🙂

  5. lucienlow says:

    Hi, I’m sorry for your loss. You’ve been a great course mate and thank you for this post.
    – Lucien

  6. Micawber. Here for you always.

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