This year felt reminiscent of a Charles Dickens novel as some of my best memories stemmed from some of the worst events.
2013 was off to a heavy start when – in less than a week – I faced the dichotomy of life. I watched as a couple of friends buried their dad on a cold, rainy day, and days later learned of another friend’s pregnancy. Numbed and in disbelief, I toiled with the new reality each of my friends faced.
A series of unfortunate events the year before transcended into 2013 for a cousin and close friend.
In the midst of his dad’s recovery from traumatic injuries sustained in a horse accident, his mom underwent open heart surgery to repair the organ which was said to be functioning at less than 10 percent.
He and I have grown up together, but suddenly he was launched into a new level of maturity as he became the household’s only income. He spent the better part of the year watching his parents master basic motor movements like walking and getting in and out of the bathtub without any assistance.
I get by because of the help of my parents – yet his depend on him to meet their basic needs. How fortunate I am to come home to parents whose biggest ailments are allergies and the stress of work.
It doesn’t seem fair, really.
But witnessing these friends overcome the challenges they face paved the way to some of my most cherished moments.
It is encouraging to see the resilience of the two who are without their father. It’s inspiring to see them pick up the pieces and not only live but thrive after an event I’m not sure I would rise above.
To watch my other friend love on her sweet baby and make such selfless sacrifices for the betterment of her child melts my heart. I’ve learned that it’s all right if things don’t go as planned. There may be a far more rewarding experience in the alternative.
And I’ve learned it’s not up to me to determine what’s fair. I may have healthy parents and an easier load at home, but I don’t have the strength, courage and genuine heart that someone else may have.
2013 was the best of times; it was the worst of times.
There were moments of wisdom, and there were moments of foolishness.
It was the epoch of belief and of incredulity.
There were seasons of light and seasons of darkness with a spring of hope that followed a winter of despair.
We had everything before us; we had nothing before us – but at all times I had incredible people to teach and inspire me.
Erika Pedroza is a reporter for the Messenger.