THE BLOG

Tragedy Really Does Build Character

04/28/2015 01:28 pm ET | Updated Jan 22, 2016

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After losing my dad to a hard fought battle with brain cancer, I never thought I would recover. Being only 13, I was in the prime of my teen years and along with that came a lot of attitude and rebelliousness. Losing someone so important to me on top of those regular teenage mood swings caused anger to build up inside me that was just waiting to erupt.

After my dad died people told me I would hurt, cry, envy and blame. All of which were true. I was hurt that my dad could be taken from me so early. I cried almost every day and still do on occasion. I envied everyone who had a father in their life and those who had not felt the loss I was going through. I blamed the doctors who could not help him, my friends for not understanding and God for taking him away from me.

So yes, everything I had been told was going to happen did happen. When I felt this way, no one questioned it because it was expected. Everyone tells you that you will feel sorrow but no one could prepare you for legitimate heartache that comes with that. Everyone tells you how you will hurt, but I am here to tell you how you will grow.

It has been eight years since my dad passed away and I am four short months away from starting my senior year of college. Throughout these past three years, I have realized a lot about myself. I have realized a lot of who am I has come from losing my father.

I am:

  • Courageous because I saw my dad battle cancer and illness for most of my life. I go after what I want because after seeing him suffer, no battle is too hard for me to fight.

  • Appreciative because I know that you cannot take anything for granted. Losing someone who is meant to be in your life for the long haul really makes you appreciate the little things.
  • Careful with my heart. The people I let into my life, and I mean really into my life, are people who I know I can 100 percent trust, no questions asked. (To those who have allowed me to open up, I will be forever grateful.)
  • Willing to help others because so many people helped my family when we were struggling and a little help goes a long way.
  • Determined to live a life that would make my dad proud and to do things that would make him smile.
  • I would do anything to have my dad back in my life because not only is he my biggest hero, he was one of my best friends. But as much as I cry and wonder why, I smile.

    I smile because although he is not here with me today, my dad has taught me the greatest lessons I could ever learn. I smile because everyday I do or see something that reminds me of the amazing memories I am blessed to have with him. I smile because whether he is here or not, I am who I am because of my dad and that is something I would never change.