Life can be beautiful, life is beautiful but it can be painful and utterly cruel. The teenage years are confusing as self discovery begins to take place, developing not only as a person but exploring your interests, forming friendships, sitting exams and spending hours on assessments as well as heaps of anxiety and sleepless nights, silly friendship problems and always trying to impress everyone. The teenage years never promised to be kind to us but assured they’d leave us changed. Thousands of adolescents including myself have other hardships that make those years just that much tougher. When I was fifteen years old, my father was diagnosed with incurable cancer and was given a death sentence of just under twelve months. I had never experienced such heartache and anxiety in my life. I was lost and confused. As the months went on my father’s condition turned gravely. Everyday that passed with him still here with us was a blessing. The operations and treatment startled me, creating me to turn depressed, hollow and broken. My new life was based around the cancer diagnoses of my father, however it was like we were all diagnosed. Not only watching my father who had three children including myself in school, with two under the age of twelve and another who was not far into adult hood. But watching children from one years old, to watching teenagers and young adults suffer from the same sickness taught me life is unreservedly harsh, it isn’t always beautiful and creeps up from nowhere. Watching my father take his final breaths and kissing him goodbye taught me that the diminutive problems such as going through the stages of adolescents isn’t bad when you put things into perspective. It’s the experiences we face whilst in the prime time of our lives that leave us changed. Losing my father taught me a lot, but not only loosing my father but the process of grief has really opened up my eyes. I have learnt that you will always loose friends and the saying ‘hard times reveal true friends’ couldn’t be more correct. I had many friends…. very popular and all I cared about was maintaining these friendships, but when my father passed away so did half my heart. The vast majority of my friends couldn’t handle that type of toll on a friendship. They couldn’t handle the cancelations of catch ups, the gloominess in the air because of my grief. Some even believed that grief was just an excuse to get out of going to school. I believe friends will leave regardless if your grieving, going through depression or any type of hardship, this doesn’t necessarily mean they were all bad friends – hard situations do take its toll, it means that their job in your life has been fulfilled and they have served their purpose in your life. I leant to let them go because God will send you the people you need. I have also learnt that people will be very insensitive its inevitable. Countless adults approached me claiming they knew how I felt because they were fifty when they lost their parent(s). Saying that I will get over this, and “grief doesn’t last long”, that “they are by my side and are in a better place”. These were the most unhelpful comments, because they don’t know how I felt, they had their parent(s) around to see grandchildren, for special milestones such as graduations, weddings and many Christmases however my father passed away before I finished year ten. The better place for my father would have been on earth with the people he adored. Though these comments were exceedingly unhelpful, they don’t mean it – they just don’t understand. Try to understand that they are in a tough position and really have no words. However, there are people who will be cruel, my friend compared the loss of his pet to the loss of my father… those type of people need to be removed from your life. I learnt that situations like this teach you life is so precious and anything can happen in any given moment. That in the blink of an eye someone you adore can be gone, that one situation can turn your life upside down. Which brings me to the point of living in the moment. Don’t be so fixated on looks, appearance and self doubt. Don’t let anything stop you, eat that extra donut, go out with your friends instead of reading that book for English, because these are the days we will look back on. Life is so fragile and I am also a firm believer in being kind to everyone… inner peace is the key. You out of everyone know how harsh the deapths of life can be so be kind to your family, be kind to the people who continuously check up with you because they are your angels. Lean on them for support and never feel guilty. As well as losing friends many will enter. My last point is that its okay not to always be okay. My grief has taught me that there will be days when you cannot get out of bed, days when you can’t eat at all and days when you will eat the whole tub of ice cream. Allow yourself that, don’t beat yourself down, after all you have lost someone who you have known your whole entire life up until this point, they were the person you saw when you opened your little eyes when entering this world. They were your first love and loved you more than anyone else. So it is only normal to be feeling gloomy and down, but its also okay to be okay. Your parent defiantly doesn’t expect you to be upset always and nothing would make them prouder to see you laughing. When I lost my father I thought it wasn’t very common but it seems more common everyday. So to my solders out there this letter is from me to you. Remember to love yourself and to be kind. You deserve it. Life is hard enough as it is. - From a grieving adolescent.