An experience that had a significant impact on my life would be the passing of my Uncle Graham. I had never experienced a death before this, so it affected my life majorly. He had Motor Neurone Disease. The reason his death impacted me so greatly was because he had become such a large influence on me. I had looked up to him for so many years. I had admired his strengths and determination in his fight with MND.
Throughout his fight he suffered a great deal, which hurt our whole family enormously. Through this he has become a role model to me. During the pain and the suffering, he never lost his hope, his humour or his cheeky grin! That grin became his trademark and it is something we will all remember him by. He taught me that even when times become challenging, it is important to stay true to who you are and to never change.
He possessed many qualities that I aspire to have; qualities of hope, humour, strength and persistence. This has helped me develop as a person. To have aspirations of qualities that you admire and you see first hand how they help and inspire others, develops a drive to embrace these certain qualities. This circumstance helped me to realise not only how lucky I am to have the amount of love and support I have, but how much love and support I can give to others. It helped me realise my strength. That I could not only take care of myself during this tough time, but that I could help and support others during my time of grieving.
Even though this experience may have been painful and not pleasant, I have learnt from it. I learnt from Uncle Graham to always remain hopeful, to fight and never give up. I learnt to be grateful for what I have; family, friends. But I have most importantly learnt that hard times are inevitable. That everyone goes through times they want to give up; times they feel worthless, as if there is no hope. I feel that it is the perfect time to think about what we have; whether it be the time we have, the memories we have, or something as simple as; I have my family, I have my friends. I am surrounded by love and support and that's all I need. I learnt that whatever I may be going through I will always have someone to talk to, someone to help me get through the hard times, that I am not alone.
Death can be a sensitive topic and one most don't want to share or talk about, but I feel that everyone will experience deaths and although not enjoyable, through them we learn how to adapt, how to mourn, how to help others and importantly; how to help yourself. To maintain mental health and to take care of yourself is such a critical lesson to all aspects of life. When we share our experiences and feelings, we can help others to embrace it and to cope. We make it OK to be feeling the way we are feeling and not to suppress those emotions.
When I read the above prompt, I knew straight away this is what I wanted to write about. Many people will have that stand out moment in their life that they are shaped by and as a result develop as a person. This was my stand out moment. It so drastically changed my life, because I knew that my Uncle Graham was the sort of person I aspired to be. Due to this, I live everyday thinking of the qualities I long for and the inspiration I got from my Uncle. This experience not only significantly impacted my life, but also helped me develop as a person and become who I am today and the person I will become tomorrow.
This story was originally published in MND News: January/February 2018.