What is Success?

Success is a concept that each person within society is constantly trying to achieve. It is the hopes and dreams of every parent for their children to be successful and happy. It is woven into our character, and helps society define our worth, but what is success? More importantly, how do we obtain success?

The most common definition of success as defined by the internet and various dictionaries are the following: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; the attainment of popularity or prosperity; and a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.

While I do not disagree that success is strongly linked to obtaining accomplishments. The definition that is provided by so many dictionaries directly link success with monetary accomplishments, name recognition, power, and status within society. Although most of society may consider those definitions the true definition of success, personally these definitions seem incomplete or not truly encompassing success as a whole.

This lead me to research what is success defined by individuals that society consider successful.  How do “successful” people define the concept of success?

Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, stated in her book entitled Thrive that society “tends to think of success along two metrics — money and power — we need to add a third”. She states that the third is more like a multi-branch pillar that contains “well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving”.  Success includes this last multi-branch pillar because to be successful, one truly needs to thrive and attend to their psychological well being as well as the role society creates for them.

According to the inspiring writer Maya Angelou, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” She explains that success is sought through obtaining happiness within the decisions and paths that you have taken as an individual, and the enjoyment we find in it.

Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra believes that success is a matter  of constant growth. He states in his book, “success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals.”

Unlike the three previous success stories that focus on the psychological well being of an individual, many others focus on the drive or path to success. Winston Churchill stated “success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” It is being relentless in your future and never giving up on your end goal.

Like Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison focused on the work to obtain success rather than what defines a successful person. He’s definition “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” He focused on constantly putting in the effort to reap the benefit.

I saved my personal favorite definition of success for last.  According to legendary basketball coach John Wooden, success comes from competition within ones self rather than competition with others. Wooden stated “success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming”. His idea of success comes from self fulfillment and goals of success that is set by the individual.

The common theme that is universal in each of these successful individuals definition is success comes from self awareness. Regardless if it is self fulfillment, hard work, continual self growth, relentless efforts, self love, or altruistic service to others; the key to success comes from within.  It is one thing to be successful to others, but the bigger obstacle is to truly gain success within the strict defines that we place upon ourselves.

I have not yet became the successful person that I would love to become, but I am proud of my progress and my relentless efforts to gaining success. Remember you are only more successful than the person you were yesterday.

Success lies within the heart, soul, and mind of the beholder.

 

 

 

 

Random Compliments

People often forget the power of words. Everyday we spew millions of words via our mouths or through our writing, but often forget the impact that these words have on others.  Each and everyone of us have the power to make or break some ones day through our words and actions.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of trying on my bridesmaid dress for a wedding that I will be a part of in June. To be honest, the whole experience tore down my confidence and positive self image.  It was overall a terrible experience that instantly put a damper on my day.

After leaving the bridal shop, I went food shopping with my beloved mother. To put it in perspective, I do not resemble my mother overall. She is a blond, has blue eyes, high cheek bones, and the greatest dimples.  As we enter the super market, this random stranger turned to my mother and said “Your daughter is beautiful, I am assuming that its your daughter based on the age difference, and the fact that you both have same cheek bones, widow’s peak, and larger set eyes”.

After the shock wore off the she was in fact talking to my mother and I, we replied that we do not get told we look alike often due to our drastic complexion difference and due to the fact that most of my features are direct matches to my father. Afterward the lady repeatedly told me how naturally gorgeous I was, and that its a shame that more people don’t openly compliment my looks.  Naturally I thanked her repeatedly, and continued shopping.

Now although the compliments was more than generous, the moral of the story is that this random stranger restored my lost confidence. She spread a little joy unknowingly. She had no idea about my day, but happened to change my bad mood instantly.

Every day, each and every person holds this great power. The power to uplift another person. We may not know what people are going through and the internal battles of each person we encounter, but we truly have the ability to bring a small glimpse of joy to others. Despite the world being full of negative people and actions, each of us have the ability to bring hope, joy, kindness, understanding, and honesty to other people.  Give a random compliment to a stranger. It might just make someone’s day or outlook. It might just change your outlook.

Everything Happens For A Reason

I often use the phrase that there is a place for everything and everyone in our life. Through work, I was fortunate enough to meet the sweetest lady. This lady was the definition of resilience and hope. She was diagnosed with end stage breast cancer, and told she had 1-3 weeks left to live.

Like most people I am found of a good tear jerking story about the life and struggles of the terminally ill, but reading and watching these stories are nothing in comparison to living through the experience. This lady was in her mid nineties, married for seventy years to the same man that helped her to bed every night, and had a happy life. It is the same story told repeatedly time after time.

Well this lady did not live only 1-3 weeks, but stayed with all of us for 6 months, and I learned more about life and death within these six moths than a young millennial will ever need to learn.  Everyday I watched this woman die a little more, suffer a little more, hold on to every form of life she could.

Everyday she would tell me how she lived a good life, and God gave her an amazing life therefore she will never question why she was terminally ill. She told me that life is too short to be mad at people, to misunderstand people, too hold onto feelings and emotions. She told me every night to chase my dreams because no one will ever do it for me. Each time I talked to her, I knew she was placed into my life for a reason. She was there to save me from myself. To be the constant reminder that I do not only make a difference in her life, but I also touch so many people directly and indirectly daily without ever realizing. That a kind word or a gentle hand squeeze makes a world of a difference to people.

One day about four months before her death, I sat on her floor holding her hands. She asked about the expectation leading up to death. I carefully explained the process, and gave her my input. She cried. I cried. We both held each other knowing that we would be parting soon. That night I promised her that I would be there through the process. I would hug her and kiss her cheek. Hold her hand. I would tell her each night regardless of her state of mind to “sleep like a baby” like I have done every night up to this point. Sadly I was only able to give her six months of wishing her to sleep like a baby.

About a week ago this wonderful lady decided that she was ready. She was tired of pretending that every day was a normal day. She was done defying time and her illness.  She was done living only to keep her husband’s heart from breaking. She was tired of living through pain and discomfort and only enjoying life minimally. She stopped eating and drinking on her own accord, and requested comfort medications to remain pain free.  Than came the night she was barely responsive. As I administered her comfort medications, her daughter informed me that she has not spoken or responded to much for the past six hours. I bent over her kissed her forehead, squeezed her hand, and whispered in her ear “sleep like a baby”. She gently pressed her fingers against mine, and weakly replied “I’m going to miss you telling me that every night. I love you”.

Her spirit and soul left earth the following afternoon.

I learned  the inevitability of life is death, but why fear death when there is a life to live. If you worry too much about what’s ahead, you will never be able to enjoy what is in front of you right now. Life does not need to be perfect to be a good life, you only have to enjoy it. I cannot thank this wonderful woman for everything she taught me. I may stray away from my purpose in life at times, but I never will take life for granted anymore. She has taught so many things that would take at least six months to explain, but the most important lesson was that people and things are placed in our lives for a reason.  This lady and I was placed together for so many reasons. She told me everyday that I taught her so much about empathy and compassion that has no limits, about the normalcy of death, and that sometimes placing a fake smile is easier than explaining every bad moment. She taught me about life, sharing it with people, to never question fate, to stop and smell the roses, eat the chocolate, and to love without condition. I taught her about death and masking emotions, she taught me about life and being content with the cards dealt.  I will carry her story and a little piece of her with me no matter where life takes me. My life is forever changed.

 

New Year, New Me!

Over the past year, I took a back seat to writing and social media overall.  With the new year, I decided it is time to make big changes in my life.  I am ready to start a new journey and a new path including returning to social media.

Within the past two months, I have made some major changes in my life. I have changed jobs, I have moved, and recently began my journey on becoming a better healthier me. This journey is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Starting slightly after the new year, I began a fitness journey and new living arrangements that included my younger brother.  Although we bicker and fight about everything, we have been a constant motivation to one another. Over the next few days and months you will hear more about my journey, and random adventures that My younger brother and I embark on.

Please enjoy a few laughs on the way, and enjoy our videos!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI7OzL24dnSb3AXg104FXDQ

Sincerely,

Kate

 

Living through a terrible Job.

I believe that everything has a purpose.  Each day, each struggle, and each joyous moment serves a purpose.  I am a person that has been taught that hard work is the key to success.  I have consistently  been employed since the age of thirteen.  My employment history has ranged from jobs such as babysitting, tutoring, and a paper route.  When I turned sixteen, I finally applied for my first real job.  To be honest my first job was practically handed to me because my mom was employed for the same company.  I started to work at a personal care facility in the dietary department.  Throughout my high school and college career, I have been working for the same company.

As time passed I have changed positions and have grown through the company.  I have advanced and have become a crucial role within the company.  To be frank, I have grown to hate my job and the drama that accompanies it.  It takes every fiber of my being to get myself to work each day.

Within the past few months, I have finally found the purpose behind the job that I loathe walking into every day.  As the days get longer and each day becomes more of a struggle due to the constant change in staff, I slowly began to find out what I want to do in my life.

In a personal care facility I work on average with eighty to ninety-five residents each day.  Within this time period, I am responsible for another person’s life.  I affect how they view the world.  I step outside of my everyday life and persona and enter into someone else’s world.  It is an experience that can never be put into worlds.  Modern society and world issues are no longer within importance, but traditional values and racism is still fully blown and active. You become intertwined into their past lives, but also their interpretation of the changing world.  You become their family.  It becomes more than can be described on paper.

Aside from being able to escape the world as I know it, my job has taught me so much more.  My job has told me that I never want to me in nursing.  The complex nature of watching people die day in and day out does not appeal to me at all.  With that said I have learned that I love working with people.  I love human interaction and taking care of people.  I have met amazing people who range from war heroes, children authors, CEOs, business owners, human rights activists, and so many more.  I have learned that I am able to accommodate a wide variety of personalities.  I also learned that I want to be able to organize and manage companies and affairs.  My strength is not bossing people around, but simply to manage people and business affairs, and keeping things running smoothly.

I have simply learned that each job does not always turn into a career, but each job will teach you a lesson about life and what your purpose in life maybe.  Each opportunity regardless if it may be at McDonald’s or Wal-mart can teach a person more than sitting at home waiting for the perfect opportunity to fall into your lap.  It does not matter if you learn the lesson that you should never be responsible for feeding a large group of people, there was a lesson to learn.  Each job you possess is one step closer to finding the perfect career.  Each small job that has no relevance to your career teaches small skills such as customer service, dealing with cranky clients, and so much more.

As I write after a long 12 hour shift, I remember my purpose each day is to work with my amazing residents.  My purpose each day is to become a stronger and well-rounded individual through labor intensive work.  Although this could never be my end all be all career, I am learning and growing each day to become the person that I want to be.  Down the road I will be able to take away so many amazing stories and opportunities that have been able to accomplish.

Being a Slave to Time.

Every day I wish there were more time within a day.  It seems as if I have so much to do and never enough time to accomplish it.  Between work, school, writing, free time, spending time with my loved one, sleep, and the plethora of other things that I wish to do within a twenty-four hour time frame there is never enough minutes or hours.  I have gotten to the point in which I fixate on the amount of time it takes me to perform each task within the day or limit certain activities to a specific amount of time just to accomplish more within a given amount of time.

Like most Americans, I have a busy schedule that never ends.  I stress about the laundry list of items that I need to have done by the end of the week.  I have deadlines and a small amount of time to accomplish each task.  I am guilty of scheduling every second of my date including only leaving a specified amount of time to spend with the truly wonderful people within my life. Simply I have become a slave to time.

To make matters worse, I have become a slave to an idea rather than something tangible.  The reality is time does not exist, clocks exist. Time is just an agreed upon construct.  We have taken the distance of one rotation of the earth and one orbit of the sun and divided it into segments, and given each segment a label.  We have programmed our lives to live by this construct as if it is real.  Simply we have confused our shared construct with something tangible.

Thinking about the fact that time does not truly exist is mind-boggling.  It is like that moment sitting in Calc class when you find out that you can never truly go from one to two because there are in infinite amount of numbers between them (This actually did blow my mind and still does).   Realizing that time is just an agreed upon concept by humans makes me detest all the clichés about spending your time wisely and making the most of the time that you have.  This small realization has made me want to live by the popular cliché live each day like it is your last or the cliché Carpe Diem.  On second thought both of those include the existence of time.  I want to live a life that will make me proud within my old age and cherish the wonderful moments (which is technically measured a minute and a half) that will soon become memories.  Sometimes we all need to simply remember that there is more to life than having each moment of your day scheduled.  Take a break and live life because you are never guaranteed tomorrow.  Hope you have a great and inspirational day.

With Love

Kate

Passion behind the “Pen”

Our lives are impacted by sometimes the most small and insignificant conversations and moments that seem rather coincidental at the time.  There are so many small and incidental moments in my life that has caused a shift in my entire mindset.  It is no secret that my family and upbringing was different from most people at the time.   I come from a multi-racial family that was culturally inclusive.  Growing up within an environment that is a result of multiple cultures colliding has shaped my unique outlook on life and wide cultural acceptance.

I was thinking the other day about my inspiration to blog or write in general. When looking at previous blogs most are inspired by the harsh nature and consequences of stereotyping. Not only do I blog about the most insignificant forms of stereotyping, such as stereotyping introverts and extroverts, but  I have written multiple pieces throughout my college career and researched the existence of stereotyping in many different forms that range from the Japanese internment camps within the United States during World War II and the ways in which Hollywood reinforces stereotypes within society through show and movie scripts.  Stereotyping is a large social issue that plagues society, but has also been one of the largest social issues that affects me directly on a daily basis.

When I was younger, my family lived in a smaller town that was comprised of a large white majority with a small black minority.  Twenty years ago in this neighborhood there was little to no biracial or multi-ethnic families.  To be honest, this fact never quite bothered me. I never realized that my family or I (for that matter) was different.

The first time that I realized I was different was in first grade.  Earlier that day my mom visited school to drop off treats for the class; that afternoon on the bus ride home, one of my classmates simply asked me if I was adopted.  Oddly enough at this point in my life, I had no idea.  She asked me if I ever realized that my older sister and mom skin was completely different than what mine was.  That night I asked my mom why she would not tell me who my real mommy was and why I do not look like her and Ashley (my older half sister).  Looking back on the day, I have realized that I offended my mother deeply that night (also because she told me).  After that afternoon, she spent probably about two months convincing me I was not, in fact, adopted. (Unfortunately she still needs to convince me of this sometimes because I am still the “black sheep” of the family and act completely polar than the rest of my siblings)

From this day forward, I viewed the world differently.  I never saw the world the same or uniformly.  This would be the first step in my journey towards becoming the person I am today.  It has shaped my personality, explains my confusion on how I should look and act, how I should speak, and my personal style.  When we are young, we strive to maintain the status quo, and to fit into the mold of society.  At this young age, realizing that my family was not the status pro quo was probably the most difficult part about growing up in a biracial family.

So all those who seem to wonder across my site or my writing, beware there will most likely be an undertone examining the social issues of stereotyping and racism, and urging people to open their minds to new ideas.  My past shapes why and what I write daily. Also keep in mind that children are so impressionable and the sometimes the smallest things have some of the greatest impacts on their lives without one ever realizing it.

Last Glance at 2014!

As today starts the New Year, I think I need to take a moment to reflect on 2014.   Last year was not one of the greatest years, but it was filled with life lessons and some pretty great moments in general.  Although 2014 has brought about way too many tears and sleepless nights, there are few things I would like to highlight from my year and the things that I am thankful for.

  1. One of the first things that I am thankful for is my family.  Without the support of my family, this year would be particularly unbearable.  I am especially thankful for my mom.  Although we are not always on the same page and she nags me all the time, I know at the end of the day she is there for me.  She has seen me at my best and at the ugliest moments this year. She supports my dreams and pushes me to be the best that I can be.  She cries when I cry and laughs at me (not with me).  She is truly a super woman.  I do not know what I would do without her.  Also there is my niece and nephew who brighten my day by always reminding me to appreciate the little things in life, like the sound of their laughter and spending precious moments with people you love.  There is also Tamaia, my little sister, she reminds me that no matter what, someone is there to looking up to you and inspiring to be you (even when you are far from perfect).  My family as a whole are the people I spend the most time with, and know me for my true self.
  2. I am also thankful for my Greek Family.  These individuals are more than just college friends, but they are truly my family.  I would include them in number one, but they deserve their own separate category.  I cannot say enough good things about these individuals.  First person I am truly thankful for is my amazing big.  She is one of my best friends and also someone who has taught me so much about life.  Although she is hundreds of miles away at school we have been able to stay as close as if she was still two minutes away.  She is inspiring and has such a bright future.  I am thankful that she is in my life. She has taught me to never give up even when all the odds are stacked against you.  Next person I am thankful for is Brandon, my dad.  Dad and father are more than  words or pronouns.  A dad is someone who is there for you no matter what happens, someone you inspire to be, and someone that you can laugh and cry with.  Brandon is someone who is truly a friend and one of the most stable male figures in my life.  Last but not least, my sorority Little Rachel.  Rachel is such an amazing person that I cannot say enough good things about her.  She is that positive person that always sees the light at the end of the tunnel .  I do not know what I would do without our family dinners and random adventure.
  3. I am also thankful for my amazing friends.  I do not know what I would do without these people who choose to be friends with my awkward and sometimes weird self.  Some people in particular I want to thank is Katie, Jordyn, Jessica, Mara W., Ciara, Mike, Emily C., Alicia  and so many more.  Katie, you are simply awesome.  You have helped me readjust after my semester off.   You make me question my opinions, and argue with me like no one else can.  I love that you are my A-babe. You are truly a blessing.  Thank you for being my opposite on so many things and also being able to talk and laugh with me all the time.  Jordyn thank you for becoming a new friend, and sharing so many memories within the past few months.  You are truly a unique and amazing person.   Jess, you are someone who sees me at my worse in all of my snapchats, but always reply back.  I am enjoying watching your little man grow through all the amazing snapchats I get.  Thanks for allowing me to rant and have a friend to talk to regardless if I am at home or school. Ciara, although we do not see each other often, you are one of my most stable friends.  You have been there since the first week of college.  I enjoy our random conversation and being able to have someone who is there no matter what happens.  Someone who I can share all of my fun stories and mistakes with.  I am glad you can live vicariously through my hot mess of a life. Alicia because I could always count on her to relieve me from some stressful moment during this semester, and it is nice having a little sister on campus.  She was there to play board games with me on Thursday nights and avoid homework like it was our job.   Lastly, Emily Clark you are the most determined and ambitious person I know.  You are someone who is is dependable and can psychoanalysis people with me.  We share the same mutual dislikes as well. Our rant sessions were always needed, and you introduced me to some pretty awesome music.  Also I do not know anyone who can twerk with as much passion as you!  You are such an amazing person and I hope that you can see what you have to offer the world.   Sorry for all those I missed.  I truly appreciate all my friends, but these few have been there for me day in and day out.
  4. I am thankful for all the moments of laughter because they helped me remember the good in the world.
  5. I am thankful for good wine and good times because there were some really good moments this year and memories that will last a life time.
  6. For the tough time because you could never enjoy the good times if it was not for the bad times.  They made me stronger and to better than I was before.
  7. Lastly I want to thank God.  He wakes me up every morning and helps me through the toughest of days.  Without him this year would not be possible.

Again I am thankful for a lot this year.  Cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store.

New Year, New Resolutions.

Every year about this time I make a few New Year resolutions that will help me become a better me for the year.  Each time I think I have the same goals that seem to never be accomplished.  Last year, I decided on one goal but I never quite accomplished what I wanted done.  This year is a time for change and time for me to focus on a new me.  This are goals that are both obtainable and improve overall health and well being.  Here is a list of my personal New Year’s Resolution, but is simple enough that anyone can start.  New Year is going to be the start of a new outlook on life.

  1. Each year, I have the goal to lose a certain amount of weight.  This year I am amending this goal.  Although weight loss is still a goal, I have changed my focus and drive.  During the last few months I have been working out and dropping a couple of pounds here and there.  My goal this year is to work out at least three day a week.  Not for the weight loss but because working out helps me stay alert and gives me a boost of energy that is always needed.
  2. Another goal is to write down daily one thing I am thankful for.  Positive thinking is key to success.  I am blessed to have amazing people and moments in my life, and it is time that I recognize the good in the world.
  3. Donate time and money to a charity that I feel strongly towards.  This is one to give back to the community and to become a better person.  By giving a part of my time and energy helps feel like I can affect others in the positive way in which others have impacted my life.
  4. Laugh at least once a day.  I am a firm believer in that laughter is the cure to almost anything. I often forget to do this often.
  5. Perform a random act of kindness on a daily basis.  Things as simply as opening the door for someone. Paying for someone’s lunch.  Some acts of kindness goes a long way.  Although I have done this in the past, it is a goal to do this on a daily basis.
  6. Give a genuine compliment daily, especially to those I may not know.  Spreading a positive outlook and being kind to people can only spread more positive in the world.  Being kind to those we do not hold dear is something we often overlook.
  7. On that note, Give myself a compliment daily.  It is time to stop self loathing and to embrace imperfections.  I may not like different aspects about myself, but I need to remind myself that I have good quality.
  8. Stop allowing others to define me.  This can range from society in general or from those people who seem to always put us down.  you can be whatever definition you want to be.
  9. Smile at strangers and often. I would love for everyone to try something.  When having a conversation with someone keep a straight face with the person for about five or ten minutes.  After that just smile as you are going through the conversation. Do not make it obnoxious, but you will realize almost every time the person will start to smile back.  For some psychological reason people tend to return a smile and it makes a person seem more open and more pleasant.
  10. My last resolution is to surround myself with people with qualities that I look up to, and to leave behind people who bring negativity into my life.  The people that you surround yourself with are the people that you become.  The people that you are with happens to reflect the type of person that you are.

Hopefully by keeping these resolutions in mind, it will help me to become a better and happier person. All of my goals are centered around keeping a positive outlook and becoming the best person that I can be.  Happy New Years! Hope everyone’s year is filled with great people and great memories that will last a life time.

A letter to Jeremy

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Suicide.  The word instantly grabs people’s attention. The word carries a burden that no one seems to want to address.  Suicide.  You would think that the more you see or say a word, the easier it is to read.  SUICIDE!

Suicide is an issue that plagues many societies yet often becomes overlooked.  The word and the action of committing Suicide catch everyone’s attention, but the actions leading up to suicide usually goes unnoticed.

You have read the word suicide seven times since you have started reading yet the implication of the word still carries great weight, and does not at anytime become easier to read. Within the past six months suicide has become a major aspect of my life.  A family member of mine decided to end his life in the worst way possible. I have needed to write about this subject for some time, but every time I start it always seems to go unfinished until today. This is an open letter to my cousin because it is the only way to end my mental battle with the subject. This letter I started and finished a week after his death, that letter has since been replaced because life happened to me.   Now it is time to finally release the emotion that has been built up inside for so long.  Here is my letter to Jeremy:

Dear Jeremy,

The day I found out that you passed was one of the oddest days I have ever experienced.  Death is a subject that never draws much emotion from me in particular.  I am a firm believer that death is evitable, and that death should be a time of celebration of the accomplishments and the life that someone has lived.  It usually takes me a good while until the reality of the death sinks in for me, and my emotions let loose.  Your death was different.  To say the least it took me by surprise, which this is not the first time that someone has died without warning in my lifetime.  I was driving (do not ask me where or who was with me because I have no idea) and I was told you were dead, you killed yourself.  To this day I cannot explain the mix of emotion that swept over me.  I was upset and also really pissed off at you.  I felt like you took the easy way out. You left this place that is a hell hole for many of us.  Immediately following this brief moment of rage, I was filled with the unusual feeling of loss and grief. The first memory that popped in my head of you was when I was four or five years old.  I would fill my cheeks up with air and you would push my cheeks and let all the air out.  The last time I filled my cheeks with orange pop, you as normal pressed on my cheeks to get a face full of soda.  I cannot tell you why this was the memory that I remember, but it is one of many that stuck with me.  As I replayed that memory in my head a few times, I stopped the car and just cried for a couple of minutes by myself.  I could hear your laughter as you pressed on my cheeks.  I can see your face as orange liquid splattered everywhere.  I think this was the first time you ever yelled at me.

It is fair to say since that day I have thought about you often and each time I end up in tears.   Do you remember the last thing that you said to me?   You sent me a message and told me how proud you were of me. Going to college and becoming a young woman. I replied and told you that I missed you and thanked you for your kind words.  That is the last conversation that we ever had.  The last time I spoke to you.

To be perfectly honest before your last day on earth, I always held the opinion that taking one’s own life was a selfish unnecessary way to shorten a life.  That is not to say that I do not understand the psychology behind it or that each person’s mental stability is not on the same page.  Depression is real and has many unforeseen consequences; I just thought the person was making an easy escape from this hell on earth.

The months following your death have been quite difficult for me, not just because of your death, but for a variety of reasons.  One night, following a long difficult stressed filled day, I was sitting in my dorm room alone.  This was the first time I realized suicide is not the easy way out, but is an escape route.  This was the first time ever in my life that I really just wanted to give up, and throw in the towel.  I often express wanting to give up to my mom, but this was the first time I shut off my phone and did not want to move forward with my life.  I felt for the first time in my life that suicide was an option.  It would simply end all the stress I had.  All my responsibilities would be gone.  I would not have to work my behind off to pay for a tuition I cannot afford. Every cent to my name would not be placed on a bill or payment that I need to make.  I would not be constantly tired from working all night and having class all day.  I would not be putting stress on my mom to make up for the twenty dollars here and there I need to put gas in my car just to get to work.  I would escape the 50,000 dollar debt that I will be facing in less than a year.  I could go on for about another ten pages, but I think you get some of the more trivial reasons I could see the benefits.  To say the least I was at the end of the rope and I could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel for the first time in my life.  It was the lowest I have ever felt. That night I looked at that last message you sent me.  I sobbed for a good four hours before drinking a bottle of wine.  You stopped me that day or maybe someone from above, I cannot really tell you.  I do not know if it was you in my dorm room that night, or just my unusually strong stubborn will and faith in God that changed my mind.

What I realized that night was suicide is not the easy way out.  Wanting to end your life is hard knowing the affect it will have on the people around you.  On one had you are to the point that it seems the only way out of the misery, but on the other you are sacrificing the lives of those who surround you.   I know that you were stressed and life was not easy for you.  We are not the type to reach out and pull the sympathy card either so I know you eternalized many of your feelings.  I am not mad anymore at the decision that you made that day, but often wish that it would be different.  I wish I could see you one last time.  The truth is I do not know how I feel about the word suicide anymore. What I do know is that life is tough and there are times that people do not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I want to simply thank you Jeremy.  Every life event is put into my life for a reason, and your death has taught me so much about life and loss.  There are so many memories that I hold near and dear that was created with you that are more vibrant than ever before.  To give you a brief update, Life has not gotten any easier and I take life day by day. Life has been a series of trials and tribulations lately, but I am not strong enough to make the decision that you did.  I have more time in store for me here on earth.  Hopefully this will be the last time I write you to tell you about how terrible life can be.  In the future at my graduation I promise to write you another letter, at my future wedding, my first child (which hopefully is adopted in my late thirties), and other great life events that prove that the night in my dorm room was you telling me to hold on. I have realized life can be tough and sometimes you cannot always see the light, but there are people, songs, and precious moments that help lead us through the dark and makes life worth living. Passion keeps us moving, and hope takes us further.  I love you and hope you rest easy big guy.  Until the next time we meet.

With Love,                                                                                                                                                               Kate-Kate