What is the bravest thing you have every done?
This year Real Simple’s sixth annual Life Lessons Essay Contest asked this question. It took me a while to come up with my own response to this question. What is yours?
There was a truck driving down the highway in front of me. It swerved to the right, hit the side of a road sign, and rolled down a hill. I pulled over, ran down the steep embankment and held the hand of the man who took his last breath before my eyes. Then I ran over to where his brother lay in a thick tar substance from the accident. I stayed with him until rescue workers came.
Years later at the deposition, I was asked, how in the world did I get down the steep embankment? I said, "what do you mean?" It was a clear path so I just ran. The lawyers asked me to point to the photos of the accident scene where this "clear path" was.
Upon looking at the photos, I couldn't believe my eyes. There was nothing but thick overgrowth, briars, poison ivy, shrubs, bushes....all woodlands, with no path.
I couldn't believe it that in my mind, my determination to help those men at the time pushed me forward through all that mess to get to them to help them. That day, though, it looked like a clear path, with no obstacles.
my guess is that you followed the path that the vehicle flattened as it went down the embankment, but by the time the rest of the help arrived, the vegetation had bounced back.
I ran down the embankment actually. The vehicle went off the road a ways back through the guardrail where there was a road sign.
I would say that the bravest things was when I worked in drug and alcohol rehab. A drunk guy was walking down the street in front of the building where I worked and he mouthed off to one of the clients. The client and the drunk man were ready to fight and I stepped between them to keep both from going to jail.I cared too much for both of them to consider my own safety at that moment. I don't know how I knew it, but I knew that neither one would harm me.
The bravest thing I have ever done is to "live" when I wanted to take my own life...thrice. I see everything else as secondary to the quest to return from my period of darkness without getting professional help. My will and determination to heal was the highlight of my life and though I still get depressed from time to time my inner strength makes me determined never to go back to that place where life seems useless or hopeless.
I have gone through many things in life including punching out man who sexually harassed me in a bar, beating up a man who stole my money and quite a few other stories which would make for a great novel but nothing compared to my period of depression, attempted suicide and what happened after I realized I was not meant to die that kind of death. Finding my purpose in life is what has kept me going plus the love I realized I have from friends and family, and the fact that I would not want them mourning me in that way.
Very good question.
By my estimate, the bravest thing I've ever done was stay with my husband through his mental breakdown and the fallout that resulted (near homelessness, taking - then leaving - a job which came close to hospitalizing me, plus all the stigma mental illness sticks on a person and their entire family). The experience came close to breaking me, but I feel stronger because of it.
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