Endless change

Staff writer discusses new perspective on life


Grayson Cook

Staff Writer Grayson Cook discusses new outlook on his life and his previous years of struggle after life-changing trip.

Grayson Cook, Staff Writer

When I was young, I believed my family was invincible.

Despite all the hardships I had endured up till about the age of 9, despite the fact that I myself had to endure a constant amount of pain from multiple health issues, I believed nothing could happen to us

That is, until my second year of high school, when my whole world came crashing down, and I looked straight in the eye of grief and pain. Face-to-face.

Before that year, those childhood experiences led me to believe, “It is not my time yet,” and keep myself alive despite everything.

As I grew older, my life was still fraught with complications, but that didn’t stop me from being this lovable, funny kid who looked at his life and said to himself, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” I had lots of friends and good grades in school. I was a natural in theater during my middle school year, and I was slowly getting more comfortable with things that were usually out of my comfort zone.

During my sophomore year however, my life was a total wreck. Losing four loved ones in a period of five months does horrors for the human mind and emotions. I was no exception to this.

You feel useless.

You feel grief.

Worst of all, you feel like the blame is on you.

At least, that’s how I felt.

I shut myself off from everyone I loved, scared that if I kept up my relationships with people, I would somehow “jinx” their lives. My grades also plummeted as my mind kept flashing back to those moments of indescribable realizations. I began to realize that dark parts of all that pent-up emotional pain in my mind were flooding into my soul until I didn’t even know who I was anymore.

As kids, we’re told feeling grief and pain is a heartbreaking, but ultimately unavoidable, part of life, and that when it happens, it’s OK to not feel OK. To live in what I know as “the pain room” will only make us feel more miserable.

That might be true, but that doesn’t make it any easier to escape it because you feel like you deserve to be miserable. You deserve to feel the grief and pain because you were the supposed “cause” of that loss.

I was only able to overcome this grief very recently when I went on a school group trip to London and Paris during spring break.

I wrote a letter to those I had lost and, on the last day of the trip, threw it into the River Seine next to the Eiffel Tower. My hands shaking from the cold as my emotional inner grief came flooding to the surface. Nevertheless, I steeled my nerves, and looked toward the heavens in a silent prayer.

“Dear God,” I said to myself before I threw the letter in the water. “Dear God, I will not allow this grief to control my life any longer.”

With those words came a change in my perspective of life.

As my dad always tells me, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  I have always believed he is right when making that statement, but I think I’ll add one more thing. If you waste those days being stuck in that pain room, you will never be able to live your life the way you desire.

So my message is this: don’t hide your pain and grief from those you love, but don’t let it control your life either. Loss is hard. It will always be hard, and nothing will ever change that, but if you accept that loss and take the steps necessary for healing instead of hiding from it, then healing you will receive.