My mother is dead. So what? My heart hurts, but it hasn’t stopped beating – my mom’s did. I’m still alive. I know this because the alarm clock still goes off every morning. I still go to school. I still read books. I still talk to my friends on the phone.
Sure, my soul aches. But I can’t let that keep me from functioning like a normal human being. I can’t walk around crying and depressed twenty-four hours a day, and I wouldn’t want to anyway. I like being alive. And even though I’ll admit that there are times when I feel like crying for no reason whatsoever, I like laughing and feeling happy a whole lot more.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that I never get angry or upset. Because, I do. Only, most of the time, my momentary fits of anger (or sorrow) have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I have a dead mother.
But, just because I don’t think about her all the time – just because I can laugh at one of my grandfather’s jokes, or get mad at my brother for annoying me – doesn’t mean that I don’t miss my mom. Or that I didn’t love her. Or that I wouldn’t be thrilled to have her back. I’m just fairly certain that she’s not coming back. After all, she’s dead. We buried her.
And, anyway, being motherless isn’t the worst thing in the world. Think about it. I am not homeless, or hungry, or unloved. I am not trapped in a war-torn country. And I don’t live in fear of being thrown into a concentration camp by Nazis like poor Anne Frank.
Yes, I have felt sorrow. But, I have never despaired. Bad things happen all the time, but that doesn’t mean that life can’t be good. It’s simply a matter of choosing to be happy. And if you don’t believe me, if you don’t think that happiness is a choice, then you have obviously never suffered and survived. Because anyone who has ever been trapped inside a tragedy knows that the only way to escape intact is to laugh – out loud and often.
I think that a person could suffer a lifetime of sorrows and still have a happy life, so long as they never stopped laughing.
Not that I think that I have all the answers, or anything. I may sound like a know-it-all but, believe me, the only thing that I know for sure is that I don’t know much. How much could I possibly know, I’m only twelve years old…. O.K., I’m eleven and three quarters. But, that’s not important.
What is important, is that fact that I recognize that even though the temptation to wallow in self pity is strong, it’s definitely no way to live. Which is why I refuse to walk around feeling sorry for myself. And I certainly don’t expect – or want – anyone else feeling sorry for me either. As I have already explained, my life isn’t all that horrible.
At least, I didn’t think that it was, or even think much about it at all until a couple of weeks ago. But, lately, I have been thinking about it a lot. Obsessing over it, really. And, to be perfectly honest, the whole thing is starting to scare me a little bit.
That’s why I am looking forward to doing this weekly journal assignment for my English teacher, Mrs. Loeb. I figure that, maybe, if I write everything down, I’ll be able to get it all out of my system.
Besides, Mrs. Loeb says that if she discovers any really outstanding journals when she reads through them at the end of the school year, she’ll show them to her husband. He works for a publishing company. Mrs. Loeb says that if he thinks that any of the journals are particularly well-written, he might want to publish one.
The day that she made that announcement there was nearly a riot in the cafeteria (everyone was so excited at the thought of becoming a published author). But, now, some people are saying that Mrs. Loeb is only dangling the possibility of publication in front of us as a ploy to make sure that we keep up with our weekly writing assignments, and that she really doesn’t have any intention of showing the journals to her husband.
Whatever. The truth is that, deep down, every single one of my classmates is secretly hoping that, in the end, their journal will be one of the chosen ones. I have that dream myself. Who wouldn’t?
But, even if my journal doesn’t turn out to be the literary masterpiece that I’m hoping to create, I still think that starting one is a really good idea. Published or not, I just want to feel normal again.