Tragedy by Zachary Dresser

Tragedy.

trag\e\dy n. : a very bad event that causes great sadness and often involves someone’s death

It is something that all people want to avoid. We don’t want to think about it. We don’t want to talk about it. Never do we want to accept it.

When something tragic happens, people oftentimes do not talk about it, shuffling it to the dark back corner of their psyche. Tragedy has taken shape in many different ways in my personal life, but it has also found its’ way into the community around me. Luckily, I have been surrounded by people who’s strength has inspired me; unique strength that I had no idea an individual could possess.

Last school year a fellow classmate of mine, Thomas’, father died suddenly. Thomas was a well liked athlete who I knew little about. I remember the Sunday when I heard about the loss of my peer’s father. Although I never met Thomas’ father, I recall standing in my kitchen in awe when I first received the news that his sad passed.

Within a few days of his father’s death, the young man was back in school, acting very normally. My first thought was that he was masquerading his feelings behind a strong well-liked facade, which was not the case.

This 17-year-old was not hiding the emotions he was truly feeling, but facing the tragedy with strength and bravery. I just did not understand where this came from and how a person could begin to deal with a tragedy like this. A seemingly quiet and somewhat introverted person was accepting the love and support of others in a healthy manner in order to overcome incredible personal loss. This is something that moved me; I marveled at the fact that he was able to gather the strength to return to school so soon after the loss of his father.
I had never seen someone this strong.

I was astonished at the way that he handled himself and his situation, so much so that I found myself having to make contact with him. I offered Thomas my support and condolences, things that he accepted happily – not something that all people can do.

I wanted to emulate Thomas’ strength. I wanted to gain the confidence that I admired in Thomas; confidence that allowed him to seek and accept help from others. He faced his tragedy head on which allowed the healing process to begin.

After having been a bystander in Thomas’ harrowing situation and facing personal tragedy after his father’s death, I drew a few conclusions about facing tragedy.

Tragedy has a meaning in our lives. It can be used as a way to grow, as I believe that Thomas did his junior year. When faced with tragedy, harbor the strong emotions you are feeling and apply them to other things. Understand that it is an opportunity to have the support of others and gain strength from their willingness to help.

It is possible to remain positive and alert when facing tragedy. As Thomas did, and as I’m learning to do, do not let something get you down – do not let it ruin you. Take it as an opportunity to reflect on all the good that happens in your life.

Understanding. Understanding is key in facing tragedy. Like religion, it takes a certain amount of faith, but understanding that death and tragedy are apart of life’s journey will make it easier to cope with.

Tragedy is never easy to overcome but when you must, do so knowing that there is a way to heal, cope, and carry on.

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