Posted by: Staff | 12.10.2008

College Essay XV: Time- by Anonymous

“All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.”–Kurt Vonnegut

To this day, the sound of the ambulance’s sirens as we sped down Boylston Street and the smell of her perfume are still fresh in my mind. Amidst the chaos of that overcast Sunday morning, it’s remarkable that my thoughts have remained so clear.

My mother battles Paranoid Personality Disorder, a rare temperamental illness that generates impulsive thoughts, actions, and feelings; because I am her daughter, I see them magnified a thousand fold.

It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I was accidentally let in on the truth my father had so cautiously kept to himself in fear that I was too young to comprehend. But then, on that typical Sunday morning, it was too late for secrecy. As I witnessed her suicide attempt, my entire body quivering, I dialed 911. I did not have time to rationalize what I had seen. 

At the hospital, doctors encouraged me to approach the situation “the right way.” They explained that her transition back home would feel natural if I just followed the methodical technique they recommended to handle it. I wanted to listen to their advice: I really did. But all I could focus on was the present.

I remember my first time visiting her. We locked our hands together, my numb limbs and her balmy, soft hands, as she lay in a stark white room on the hospital mattress. She pleaded sanity and forgiveness, and as I stared into her glazed over eyes, all I could remember was the sound of her voice as she sang me Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl.”

How was my life so mixed up in this mess? I used to ask myself. I resented those who lived a seemingly normal life; I envied their ease.

However, I began to realize that this had all happened for a reason. It wasn’t easy, and sometimes the pressure was overwhelming, but I never surrendered to the pain. Because of this, I have accepted that my life may never be as normal or as ordinary as another’s…still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Subconsciously, my mother has taught me something that others may never learn, something more than a high school diploma could ever give me: the importance of time. Because of her, I am able to live every day as though the next may not be the same. Because of her, I work harder. Because of her, I am able to laugh at life’s absurdities, overlook the little things, and acknowledge the importance of being there for others when they need me most.

I believe that the ingenious, fickle, and eccentric aspects of my mother’s mind are the most valuable, that her imperfections are what have allowed us to be as close as we are, and that the pain I have endured from my experience has allowed me to grow. Not only have I learned to love with an open and honest heart, but also I have accepted that there’s not always logic, rhyme, or reason behind the things that happen in our lives. With this knowledge, I have allowed myself to be whatever it is that I am, because there is a magnificent beauty behind my experience, and it has changed my life for the better.

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If you would like to submit your own essay, either anonymously or attributed, please send an email to Ali Cooper or Michael Firer.

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