When Life Doesn't Give You Lemons...
Often times you hear the saying, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade,” but what about when life isn’t giving you lemons? That’s when you have to find your own lemons. You need to improvise and figure out a solution on your own.
This past year I learned a very valuable lesson that seems simple. I learned to never give up. Sure I’ve been told this countless times, but this year I was tested and that lesson didn’t seem as simple as I originally thought. I came to realise that some times it is a lot easier said than done.
Life stopped giving me lemons and I didn’t know how else to make lemonade.
Last summer, Oma was diagnosed with secondary lung cancer. By the time the doctors found it she was already a terminal case. There was nothing they could do to help her recover.
She was admitted to the hospital when she was too weak to stay at home. If she became fit enough to leave the hospital she would have to go into a nursing or retirement home. We didn’t know that she would never get that chance.
That September I started school with a heavy heart, but with high hopes. I had found an unexpected friend that summer who soon became my best friend, I had a new boyfriend and I had a feeling that this year would be a good one, despite how sick Oma was. Too bad that was just a feeling.
One month later my best friend’s brother, Joey, passed away from liver cancer. He was only 18 years old. I spent three days that week in Hamilton helping my friend cope with Joey’s death and survive the visitations and funeral.
In the meantime my Oma was continually getting worse. It was a difficult time for me, especially when I went to visit her. The sight of her so sick nearly broke me, and the added pressure of school did.
My only escapes were reading books, listening to music and strangely enough, because I hate it, writing short journal entries and poetry. I couldn’t take comfort in my friends or even in my boyfriend. I finally turned to God because I was in desperate need of help.
Two weeks after Joey’s death Oma passed away. I was in a state of complete depression and still I told no one. I prayed, I cried, I wrote. It took me a long time to accept that she was gone, ever longer still when Jessica, from school, died in a car accident. Many people who were close to her came to me for comfort and I had to push aside my problems to help them with theirs.
I put on a brave face and everyone was fooled. Everyone thought I was fine and many people didn’t even know I had any problems raging in my life. I couldn’t handle any of it though, and it showed, first, in my marks. My average dropped so much that I was no longer an honour student in only two months. Instead of focusing on fixing the problem, I took it out on my family by ignoring them almost completely even though I knew they were grieving too.
My New Years’ resolution this year was to pull myself together and get back to normal. Ironically, breaking up with my boyfriend got me closer to that goal. I felt terrible about it at first, like anyone does, but I knew a relationship at that time in my life was another burden that I just couldn’t handle.
I decided that I needed to get involved to get my mind off of my problems. I loaded myself up with extra-curricular and community activities to keep myself busy and, best of all, to be too tired to dream at night. I was so stressed that crying was the only thing that made me feel better.
I still didn’t give up on my goal to redeem myself. I prayed like there was no tomorrow, asking for help. I found some relief when I unloaded my burdens by talking to God. Still, crying often felt better and I still couldn’t tell anyone about anything I was going through.
I started not caring about school and was near to failing some classes, which was unheard of for me. I started skipping class and breaking rules. I was easily irritated by my family and often got angry at them for no apparent reason. I let good friendships fall apart and I’ve seriously maimed some of the ones that I still have. I continued messing up every aspect of my life and nothing went my way.
Up until this point my brave mask was still in place and I was good at hiding everything, but soon I couldn’t handle it anymore. One day I started crying because my friends went out to lunch without me. They noticed when they got back and tried to get me to talk. I shrugged it away at the time, and then ran to class. Scottie asked me about it later I couldn’t hold it in anymore and told him everything. God had answered my prayers when He sent Scottie. He saved my life.
When I stopped caring about school I also lost hope for my life and gave up the fight. I often found myself thinking about dying. I didn’t become suicidal because I knew I didn’t have the guts to do that, but I would fantasize about just disappearing or running away. When I hit rock bottom I didn’t know how to recover and I grabbed a drill and dug a little bit deeper before I finally found out how.
Things are far from being back to normal and I don’t know if they will ever be, but as sure as the sky above us, I’m going to try to get them that way. I’m still learning how to balance my life and deal with problems that throw themselves my way and it’s no easy thing, but now I know that I can succeed. This time I won’t give up. I’m making my own lemonade now from the lemons I’m growing myself. It tastes nasty I have to admit but it’ll get better sooner or later.
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