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.

 

 

 

 

It’s Okay not to be Okay

We live in a society that views people’s happiness and strength with being successful.  From a young age boys are taught not to cry because they will be perceived as weak or girly. Young girls are taught to be truly equal we must reel in our feelings, and show less emotion.  Society forces us to make everything seem okay. Do not get mad, upset, overreact, and to always remain calm. Do not express emotion.

If you have a job that pays well, you should be overjoyed that you are not one of the others not employed. You should be grateful, even if you hate your job.  Simply we are taught to be grateful and suppress.

But truly, It  is fine to be unhappy. To want more out of life. It is okay to hate yourself for not living up to your potential. It is okay to cry because it feels right. To hate your six figure job because it does not make you happy.  Its okay not to be okay.

 

Wealthy Person living Broke

It has been widely debated and a topic of interest the difference between being broke and being poor.  The topic never seemed to interest me much until someone referred to my life style as poor. Within the context of the conversation the person was asking questions about paying for a rental property.  To save space and time, he simply told me that my lifestyle was that of a poor person. My simply reply was my lifestyle is far from poor, I actually live a full and wealthy life.

I will not deny that I am a broke young adult that some how some way seem to make my bills each month, but I am far from poor.  Referring to oneself as poor digs deeper than having a lack of money or material items. Referring to yourself as poor is accepting that there is a social class distinction that is inescapable. There is no way out of the predicament.

As a broke person, you admit that you do not have money. The monetary means that other people are privileged to indulge with, but there is a way to change your status.  It declares that ones decisions, will, desire, and hard work can change the outcome.

So many broke people live wealthy lives because they have the means to live comfortably within their means. Being poor are the people who will never be able to push past their circumstance to a better outcome. People within third world countries that will never receive the comfort or convenience, these people are poor by circumstance.  They never get the opportunities that are given to many people in developed countries.  I am broke but I have doors opening and opportunities knocking each day.  This is the life of a wealthy person living on a broke girl’s budget. Knowing the difference is key.

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.

 

Journey to a Healthier Me

Recently, I started my fitness journey with my younger brother. Most people in my daily life ask what am I doing to lose the weight, and what is the motivation.  Before this year my motivation was always to look good for the summer. To be skinny and rock a two piece in the summer.

This year something has changed. I stopped focusing on my looks and started to focus on my overall health. This is where the change took place for me. I have noticed that each workout and each week, I may not look different in the mirror, but I am indeed getting stronger. I can hold a forearm plank longer. Do a little bit more each workout.  My muscles are growing.

Being able to see my gains without a scale has been the biggest improvement.  The reality happens to be that I have lost weight. In the past, I would be disappointed in my weight loss because it is not the amount I would prefer. Instead of comparing myself to other people, I am constantly comparing myself to who I was yesterday and who I can become tomorrow.

Losing weight and living a healthier life style is hard work and requires dedication, but a positive attitude makes the difference between quitting and picking myself up after binges. So the journey keeps going. Each day is a new battle to be won.  I do not know what tomorrow  will bring, but I know that I will keep striving to be the best me possible!

-KP

Kindness does not need Validation

So I recently discovered a pet peeve of my own, and decided to share. My older sister lives in a secured building. The building is an income based apartment complex.  The guards that are employed are all there regularly, and start to build relationships with the tenants and regular guests. Although I could probably give a thousand stories about these wonderful guards, this will probably be the first and last.  One of the regulars always bring in extra snacks and food for the kids that live in the building.  Honestly he gave me more hope in humanity. As I was leaving one day, we happened to start talking because after I cleaned snow off my car, a little kid came over to my car and offered to help clean it off for a small fee.  Although the kid asked for two bucks and could not even reach halfway up my car, I allowed him to help me clean off the car and in reward I bought him a hot chocolate and gave him the change from a twenty dollar bill.  Before I left that guard asked if I was going to take a picture with the kid or post about the occurrence on social media. After talking with this guard for a while, I found out that he takes pictures of his “good deeds”, and has gained followers and recognition from his actions.

This man openly said that he loves all the positive feedback and it pushes him to do “more”. I love that he is helping others, but I could not help but question his motives. Does he perform random acts of kindness just to gain more followers and more likes?

The sad part is that the more that I think about the subject, I have realized that it has became a trend. People perform these great acts of kindness, but seem to post about the occurrence, video the “random act”, or take pictures with the people they helped. Why do people need others to validate their actions? Why has this become a trend?

Personally, I probably will never understand the need for validation. On a daily basis, I perform tasks that are thankless and goes without ever being noticed by anyone.  Being a good person does not need validation. Being a kind human and treating everyone like they are important does not need others approval or acknowledgment.  My satisfaction is knowing that each day I make a difference in this big world, no matter how small!

So I have a challenge to anyone willing to hear my rants. Go out and perform random acts of kindness, even if it is as small as giving a compliment to a stranger. Just one small random act of kindness can improve your day and your overall attitude as well as will help others.

Make today great for your self and others. Put out good vibes and always remember everyone is fighting their own battles.

Until next time!

-KP

Freedom and Security

Within the past few years, I have learned an important lesson about social media. Not every person you meet spend their time educating themselves before spewing nonsense onto posts. Due to the fact that most people do no educate themselves on many topics, I will rarely engage in a debate on a topic.

Yesterday I violated every rule that I every set for myself in regards to social media.  There was the usual political stuff flooding my news feed when I came across a post by an acquaintance from college. He placed an article about a woman who had died waiting on the current immigration ban to be lifted to receive medical treatment.  Of course he had a nice “liberal” (what most Americans would call liberal not my definition) anti-trump message to accompany the article. For some odd reason under the comments a guy commented on the post stating that she would have received medical attention if it was not for 9/11, Boston bomber, and so many other attacks (most of them were domestic unfortunately making his comment invalid to begin with). For some reason every fiber of my being pushed me to respond.  I could not help myself. To save you a lengthy read, and save you the ignorant responses that were given, I will simply explain what triggered my response, and some information to understand why I responded (and the other gentleman that helped debunk the ignorant answers given by this young man)

Okay, lets first break down the issue area.

Issue: President Trump signed an executive order that was intended to protect the country from foreign terrorist that would enter the United States. The EO imposes a 90-day travel ban on citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries that include Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. The order also suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days. In addition, it indefinitely prohibits Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. The order calls for a review of the visa and refugee programs, arguing that “numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001.” The entry of Syrian refugees and citizens from the seven predominately Muslim countries is “detrimental to the interests of the United States,” the order says, using the language of a federal law that the president cites as legal authority to act.

To start and to not hide my opinion in a ton of misguided facts and information. Placing any sort of ban on citizens of a certain country because of religious affliction is WRONG.

Now it’s time to explain my blatant and obvious objection to the ban.

President Trump claimed to be placing a ban on seven predominate Muslim nations to protect our country from foreign terrorist that would enter the United States. To start there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and ranks Islam as the second most populous religion behind Christianity. It is currently the fastest growing religion in the world and is expected to surpass Christianity within the next few decades.  According to research most Muslims in multiple countries around the world state they condemn ISIS and see radical in a negative light, and believe that suicide bombing and mass killings in the name of Islam are rarely or never justifiable actions.  In many cases, people in countries with large Muslim populations are as concerned as Western nations about the threat of Islamic extremism, and have become increasingly concerned in recent years. Research proves time after time that Islam overall is a peaceful religion that does not condone violence and mass murder without cause.

Although research proves that Islam is not a violent religion, and many Muslims do not condone the behavior that is portrayed by small violent factions that promote destruction throughout the world, people are still placing the blame and a ban on states that are heavily Muslim.  What grinds my gears is the fact that people place the blame on one religion but overlook all the Christian terrorist that commit crimes in the name of God.  Like ISIS, the Army of God promotes and executes violence within society in the name of God. This radical Christian group kidnaps doctors and their families, bombs abortion clinics, and participate in mass killings of innocent bystanders at planed parenthood centers. Why are we not condemning every person of the christian faith. When I wear a cross around my neck, I do not get shy looks or sideways glances. People do not anticipate me to cause harm to them. Why is there a prejudice?

Now back to the topic, a ban on these countries only increases the racism and prejudices that are already perpetuated within American culture.  It allows people to continue to treat Muslims as a lower class. Within our history, America has been plagued with limiting rights for one group and always has the most asinine reasons to justify limiting the rights and freedoms that are the founding principals of the our country.  One day we all need to wake up and realize that we are all part of the Human Race. We all generally share the general goal of living in a world that is not plagued by war, money, and violence regardless of race, religion, creed, or location.

My second issue is the prohibiting Syrian refugees. Many people believe that these people are terrorists or are gaining entry into the country to live off welfare.  Here is a few facts. On average it takes two years for a refugee to gain clearance into the United States. The interview and clearance process is demanding and requires an absolutely perfect application without flaw. Also less than 1% of refugees are considered for entry into the United States. Listed below is the current vetting process for refugees.

1. Registration with the United Nations.

2. Interview with the United Nations.

3. Refugee status granted by the United Nations.

4. Referral for resettlement in the United States.

The United Nations decides if the person fits the definition of a refugee and whether to refer the person to the United States or to another country for resettlement. Only the most vulnerable are referred, accounting for less than than 1 percent of refugees worldwide. Some people spend years waiting in refugee camps.

5. Interview with State Department contractors.

6. First background check.

7. Higher-level background check for some.

8. Another background check.

The refugee’s name is run through law enforcement and intelligence databases for terrorist or criminal history. Some go through a higher-level clearance before they can continue. A third background check was introduced in 2008 for Iraqis but has since been expanded to all refugees ages 14 to 65.

9. First fingerprint screening; photo taken.

10. Second fingerprint screening.

11. Third fingerprint screening.

The refugee’s fingerprints are screened against F.B.I. and Homeland Security databases, which contain watch list information and past immigration encounters, including if the refugee previously applied for a visa at a United States embassy. Fingerprints are also checked against those collected by the Defense Department during operations in Iraq.

12. Case reviewed at United States immigration headquarters.

13. Some cases referred for additional review.

Syrian applicants must undergo these two additional steps. Each is reviewed by a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services refugee specialist. Cases with “national security indicators” are given to the Homeland Security Department’s fraud detection unit.

14. Extensive, in-person interview with Homeland Security officer.

Most of the interviews with Syrians have been done in Jordan and Turkey.

15. Homeland Security approval is required.

16. Screening for contagious diseases.

17. Cultural orientation class.

18. Matched with an American resettlement agency.

19. Multi-agency security check before leaving for the United States.

Because of the long amount of time between the initial screening and departure, officials conduct a final check before the refugee leaves for the United States.

20. Final security check at an American airport.

That must seem simple right? Wrong. This is a long tedious process. Throughout the process these refugees are being examined by multiple U.S. agencies to determine that they are not in fact a threat to our society. After a refugee enters the United States, they are not able to live free off of our “precious” tax dollars. Did you know that refugees must pay back the cost of their flight to the U.S. after finding a job, or that refugees do not get long-term subsidized housing. All refugees pay back their flight into the U.S. Each refugee receives a stipend of $1,000 to cover three months in a suitable apartment. After three months they must find a way to afford rent on their own. All refugees must apply for jobs after entering the United States. Luckily Syria was a lower middle-income country before war, therefore many refugees are educated and trained.  This allows for refugees to apply for better and more stable jobs within the States. So to cut my rant short, refugees do not get an easy road. These people are placed through extensive checks to insure our safety. What more do we need to do?  What more can we ask for? Why ban people in need?

I will stand for the right to treat each human being with dignity and respect until they prove to not be worthy of my respect regardless of race, color, religious beliefs, political beliefs (unless you spew garbage that cannot be backed up with facts or is outright untrue),  or ethnic background.

I will always preach that are country was founded on freedom for all, and a place with a rich history of immigration. I will end with two important quotes one is by Emma Lazarus, and is placed on the beautiful lady liberty, and ideals I stand by:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

And lastly a quote by dear old Ben Franklin “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” If you are going to allow the government to control our lives and determine who comes into the country to make it safer, you are essentially allowing the government to control other aspects of your life to insure safety. Every day I will choose Freedom over Safety. How safe our we under a government that will determine what we do and who should be allowed the freedom granted under the constitution.

I will end with a simple statement: Stop promoting safety over freedom, Let Freedom Ring!

-KP

Here is video to reinforce it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9dwHYu_EK4  #meetamuslim

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