For Him I Will Live

Most families would not decide to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a windy day. There is a definite sense of adventure that runs through the my family: a consistent need to feel alive. Something was different about our family that made us want to spend fourteen hours in a large, crowded plane to fly to the other side of the world for vacation. Australia and New Zealand sure seemed to be excellent getaways-but for a group of ten people ranging from ages 2-67 it might have seemed crazy, but that did not stop us. To most, it would be a long, nerve-wracking trek, but we viewed it as something we could try that was new and exciting, and that in itself was enough motivation for us to board the plane.

Since I was young, the main interest of my family has been simply trying. You'll never know unless you try was essentially, the motto that I lived by. Whether it was trying the bizarre Kiwano fruit that Uncle Alan discovered in the grocery store or finding the courage to attempt wakeboarding for the first time, there was always someone encouraging me to go for it. So despite the occasional hyperactivity of my gag reflex after consuming a highly undesirable new food or falling flat on my face and being dragged ungracefully through the water behind a boat, I am still constantly searching for new things to attempt.

This desire to explore, experience, and attempt things I have not yet done, undoubtedly stems from various branches of my family tree. My parents, my grandparents, my cousins, and my brother often are the ones who support and encourage me to take a risk; however one person stands out in my mind. It is none other than my spiky-orange-Kiwano-fruit-loving Uncle Alan. It was he who urged my cousins and me to follow our dreams, and although his words may have sounded clichéd coming from someone else, somehow when he said it, we could tell he meant it from the bottom of his heart.

Uncle Alan was known for his incredible imagination. For example, in what would appear to the average person as an over sized zucchini he saw a Viking ship overflowing with its crew of unforgiving vegetables. After a few minutes of determined carving, and careful placement of each cherry tomato, his vision came to life. On vacations down to Florida, he would carve faces into coconuts and use tiny rocks and shells as embellishments for the features. In one hand he would hold the coconut, his palette, and in the other, a sharp blade. Whenever one of the kids would start, "But what if-" he immediately responded, "Then we'll start again!" Uncle Alan lived without fear. He knew that if he made a mistake, he could go back and correct it or start from scratch, but that making those mistakes was better than never trying at all.

After about a year of an impossible battle with Leukemia, Uncle Alan passed away. Even though he may no longer be with my family in a physical sense, he is constantly within us all: pushing us, daring us, and encouraging us. He is the voice in my head that persuades me to take a different route when I can't figure out a problem. He is curious force in my body that picks up the fork of suspicious food that I am nervous to try. He is the push that I need to climb a new bridge when I am trembling in fear. Besides teaching me to try new things and take the risks that come across my path, he taught me to live life to the fullest while I still can. It is impossible to know just how long you have before you run out of time; so for him I will try. For him I will do. For him I will live.





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