Melancholy. Not even a word this potent could begin to convey the heartache and dispiritedness that was weighing heavily on my mind and heart on October 7, 2015. It was on this night that my uncle, Michael, took his own life at the young age of 23. I’d rather not go into any deeper details about his death, but I will say one thing: it was a lurid scene. The knowledge of his death brought me a great amount of torment, guilt, and regret. I felt this way because I hadn't gotten a chance to say goodbye, and in the back of my mind I blamed myself for not being there for him. This has really altered the way I think and my overall mindset.
Before the death of my uncle, I used to be a very bleak, dismal person, and I had an unpleasant outlook on life. It got so bad at times that on several occasions I pondered the idea of suicide myself, but my mind has really shifted since that day. I saw how suicide affected the people around him, and it opened my eyes. For instance, it was the first time I had ever seen my dad shed tears, and it was hard to watch. During Michael’s funeral, all of his family and friends were there to mourn together, and every single person was wearing green, to symbolize his birthday on Saint Patrick's day. It was a shame he didn't realize all these people loved him dearly and would have helped him in a heartbeat if he would have asked. Because of this, the phrase “just a call or just a smile can save a life” sticks fresh in my mind even today.
There is another saying that I often think of, which is that "after every storm there is a rainbow". In my case this was completely true. Awhile after continuously mourning my uncle’s death, something in me clicked. I realized the hard way that life could be taken in an instant, and most of the time we don't know what hit us when this occurs. Coming to terms with this saddening fact made me appreciate and groove on life and family a lot more. I don't hide away in my room anymore, and I don't exclude myself from everyone. Nowadays, I try hard to make an effort to enjoy the small things in life, and make the most of every situation whether it's lousy or spectacular. It's not always easy to do, but some things that help me are meditation and just blocking out the negative thoughts completely.
I admit, maybe I’m not the best at being completely optimistic all the time, or appreciating every little thing. Lets face it, we all have crappy days, but those days don't define who we are most of the time. We still have the right, and the choice to choose our own attitude towards life, weather that is gloomy or ecstatic.