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People, as a whole, are very good at complaining…me included, of course. But at the same time, we’re even better at judging. When your friends say they have it bad, you can always manage to think of how you have it worse. When my brother was killed in March, all I could think was, NOW I really do have it that bad. There’s no way that people can say their lives are more troubled than mine. The circumstances surrounding my brother’s death were about as horrible as you can imagine. He was 15 days away from coming home after a year and a half in Iraq. He was also on the verge of divorce and I can’t help but think that that’s what was on his mind when he was killed. Since my brother’s death, I have found myself disgusted when people I knew complained about their terrible break ups or how much they hate their miserable jobs. All I could think was, “You want to talk about pain?! You want to hear about what really hurts?”

One night this past summer, I was at a bar with a few friends. It was towards the beginning of that point where I was forcing myself to go out just to try to stop thinking about my sadness. I didn’t want to be there—I would have been much more content sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. When I excused myself to the restroom, I remembered this was the place that had chalk boards in the stalls. I always loved reading the nonsense and humorous things that drunk people spewed onto the board. The stall I went in disappointingly only had one thing written on it. It was a quote by Plato that said “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

To this day, I can’t get that quote out of my head. I think about it all the time. My brother’s death was a horrible thing. But at least I come from a very strong and tight-knit family to help me deal with it. At least it has caused my relationship with my other brother to strengthen greatly. And at least hundreds and hundreds of more people know the name Sgt. Jeffrey Reed and what a strong and heroic individual he was.

People’s uphill battles are all in perspective. Of course, bad breakups and office drama are that big of a deal to the people who have never lost a sibling. As hard as it is and as much as I want to scream sometimes, I really try to make that extra effort to be kind to people. Who am I to judge their battles?    



( 68 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 27th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
"Who am I to judge their battles?"

Awesome point, and I love the structure of this piece. Good entry!
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
thank you!
(no subject) - jenandbronze - Oct. 30th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 27th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
thanks! I always think of you when I think about Jeff because I know you've experienced some terrible losses as well. *big hugs*
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Oct. 27th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
thanks! and you're welcome. :)
Oct. 27th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
I love this. I had a friend that no matter what you said or how bd you had it, they had it worse and could tell you about it. Honestly, we should stop trying to out do others on how bad we got it and just show kindness for the bad things they do have going on.

I am glad you can think of some good things even after such a horrible experience.
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
thanks. :)
Oct. 27th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
"Who am I to judge their battles?"

This is an excellent point--something everyone should keep in mind. It's not easy, especially when you see people freaking out over stupid things, but when it comes right down to it, everyone has had to go through something difficult in their lives, even if you don't know about it. I've had to keep this in mind myself. I had a horrible childhood in a lot of ways, which still affects me today, but I've met people who had it worse. I knew one girl in high school who'd been raped by her father when she was a small child. I wouldn't have been able to guess it because she was always cheerful and her biggest problem seemed to be the fact someone had stolen her last tube of lipstick in the locker room.

*Hugs* Thanks for sharing this.
Oct. 27th, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC)
I like this post. Good job. ♥
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
thank you!
Oct. 27th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
I like this post <3
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
thank you! :)
Oct. 27th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
I can relate. I always am one to try to think of the fact that the other person's battle is as hard for them as mine is for me. But having lost my dad when he was 57, when I go through a serious life crisis now, one of the ways I sort of try to get myself through it is that I remind myself it is not as bad as Dad's death. a horrible way to coach myself but it does put things in perspective for me. all that nonsense of mine,a nd what I really want to say is how sad to read of your brother. You will always miss him.
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry about the loss of your dad. I think if that's what helps you get through things, no one is to tell you it's a bad idea.
Oct. 27th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
Absolutely beautiful. Well done.

Oct. 30th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
thank you. :)
Oct. 27th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
Wonderful entry.
I adore that Plato quote as well :)
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
thanks, friend!
Oct. 28th, 2009 01:15 am (UTC)
Beautiful entry. Just wonderful.

That quote is going to stick with me as well, I can feel. Just like, "If you're going through hell, keep going." does.
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
thank you!

It's definitely a great quote--top of my list, for sure. :)
Oct. 28th, 2009 02:01 am (UTC)
I always try to remember that other people have their own lives and they don't know what's going on in mine.
Oct. 28th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
That's one of the finest pieces of bathroom art ever.

I wasn't sure where you were going with this when you started, but I like where you ended up.
Oct. 28th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
I know both of these feelings. When life is good, little things can seem like tragedies. When life is bad, you want to wring the necks of the people complaining about those little things.

I do try to take people at face value with this kind of stuff. But sometimes it is hard when you see one person complaining that their cat puked and another who just lost a sibling.
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
yeah, it definitely is hard. There are times when I just want to scream at people. But I guess in a way I feel like some day they will probably have more pain then getting dumped or what ever crap they are complaining about. And then they will see the difference.
Oct. 28th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC)
Excellent point.
Oct. 28th, 2009 01:26 pm (UTC)
I love it!!!! I felt like I was reading straight from your mind!
Oct. 28th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
You should read my entry...We were in a similar wave length...I am sorry about your brother. He died with honor and as a hero.

I also wrote about some people I know who lost a sibling/ child, (depending on the other family member's POV). I would imagine the surviving brother I know from here has similar feelings.

It's hard to know what to say, but I am so sorry.
Oct. 28th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
"Who am I to judge their battles?"

Yes, this. Great job!
Oct. 28th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
It is often hard to be kind, especially when we're struggling with pain of our own. It is not uncommon to view the struggles of others as trivial, no matter how hard we try not to.

I am sorry to hear of the loss of your brother. That must have been an awful blow.
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:18 am (UTC)
I appreciate the condolences, very much.
Oct. 28th, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
It's always good to put yourself in someone else's shoes, especially if you're having a hard time understanding them. Good entry!
Oct. 28th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
There's always someone worse off than us I guess but it's often hard not to get caught up in the moment.

You've had such a tough time, I hope things are looking up for you x

(And away from that, the blackboard idea is pretty cool. I think I'd spend ages in the toilet!)
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:18 am (UTC)
thank you!

yeah, I love that place pretty much solely for the bathroom. :)
Oct. 29th, 2009 08:35 am (UTC)
This reminds me of when my friend in HS was going through some tough times she reflected in an essay two years later. In 9th grade, her brother died, her father accidentally killed someone in an accident, and she had to go to therapy. I never knew anything about her hardship because she was always such a happy girl and never focused on the negative. Her essay was about why so many kids were emo and depressed for nothing because it made her angry that she wasn't emo after all she went through, and some kids just were for no reason. Your perspective is different than hers, but still very respectable. Thanks for sharing your story.
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:20 am (UTC)
thanks for reading. That is so horrible for that girl but I definitely understand what she is saying. I try so hard to be happy even when that nagging sadness is there inside.
Oct. 29th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
Perspective is everything, you're right. I know some of the things that make me want to scream and cry would make someone else roll their eyes. But then some of the things I'd roll my eyes at would make another person scream and cry.
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:20 am (UTC)
yes, exactly.

thanks for reading. :)
Oct. 29th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
At least it has caused my relationship with my other brother to strengthen greatly.

This made my heart glad. I lost my own (only) brother years ago and whenever I hear people complaining about their siblings I just want to tell them to be grateful. I'm glad you are.
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
I am so sorry for your loss. I don't know the circumstances and everyone's story is different but I know how horrible it is.

To be completely honest, I could NOT STAND my living brother before all this happened. We are just so different and we always fought, and over ridiculous stuff too. It's hard to see the good in things like this but if you had to, our relationship improving would be one thing.

thanks for reading and for commenting. :)
Oct. 29th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
I do not know you but my heart breaks for your loss. It's true that everyone's troubles are relative but no matter what, some just outweigh others.
Oct. 30th, 2009 03:23 am (UTC)
thanks, I really appreciate it. And thanks for reading and commenting. :)
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