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Light and Shadow

They sometimes wonder what it means to live, those who question their very existence, those who are unhappy in the extreme. They sometimes wonder why bother.
And I sometimes think, Life is not that bad. I want to scream it at the top of my lungs, make them see what I see, but I keep my silence.
My mom says it is not my place to interfere when I hear about the stories of death. I never thought much of death, just knew it was the opposite of life. As a little girl my uncle passed away—that sounds so much gentler than died—and we went to his funeral, watched them put him in the ground. I wondered many things then: Why is he in the box and not coming out? He’s only sleeping. Asking this of my mom only made her more upset; her tears rushed down her face and she hugged me, her four-year-old daughter who did not understand. I asked how he would get out of the hole, and with no answer, that was when I think, in some part of my brain, I got it.
He wasn’t coming back.
So I understood it then. Death happened; it’s a natural part of life. But when the kid in high school committed suicide during my sophomore year, it threw me again and I was eleven years younger, armed with thousands of questions. My mom and the teachers just muttered something that he was unhappy.
Happiness was like the sun to me, constant, bright, warm, and everlasting. I wrote that once, last year when we had to do an essay about some topic I forgot. I could never see why people didn’t feel this way, just like I never wondered what it means to live. I am alive, isn’t that all there is to it? I never questioned my existence. Being alive, being me, was wonderful. And to ask why bother . . . no answer presented itself.
My chest hurts with sympathy when I think of those who hurt in ways none truly understand. They are like shadows, fleeting and racing away from the light or blocking it. I once thought, Happiness is a foreign concept to them. They just couldn’t experience it in the way I think everyone should. If they did, if the whole world did, wouldn’t it be a better place?
Now that I’m older, I can kind of see where I lived in the realm of idealism, but I’m still convinced there is purpose to life. It’s confusing and painful, and so many other things, but it’s all we have. Who is to say we do not deserve to live if we are just normal people going through the day with jobs or school, talking with friends, and loving with family? No one has passed the judgment yet; it’s not some grand test. It’s . . . oh, but there isn’t a way to describe it, is there? The world is seen through a million perspectives; no scope is the same.
So to those who struggle and can’t escape the ghosts of their minds, my heart goes out to them. I honestly wish there were a way to cure depression, liberate the world of it, but I know there isn’t. Life is life; just except it. I do, I guess, by making it the best I can. Because, really, what else is there to do?





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