Opinion

Embrace fear to live life to the fullest

Last Wednesday night, I nearly crashed my car into a palm tree. I was on my way to emergency chapter when I received a text that read, “Did a girl in your sorority just die?”

I’d known that my friend Melissa Ribeiro had been sick in the hospital. But I’ve always looked at life through rose-colored glasses, so I truly thought she would get better and everything would be okay.

In the 60 seconds it took me to get to the DPhiE suite, I dreaded hearing the worst imaginable news as I still held on to a shaky mix of denial and optimism. But as I found myself crying on the floor of a crowded room, surrounded by nearly 200 of my tear-drenched sisters, I felt devoid of any hope.

That night, my rose-colored glasses shattered. I had the realization that life isn’t always sunshine and flowers, a discovery that I believe every person makes in their lifetime. We grow up thinking the world is a perfect place where nothing could go wrong, until the one day it does. But I found that this realization is also a blessing.

I learned that just because we’re young and free and hold the world in the palms of our hands, that doesn’t mean we’re invincible. Death and tragedy can happen to anyone, and we need to be aware of that.

Understanding the fragility of life makes us appreciate it more. Petty fights with friends and stressing over grades seem so small in the grand scheme of things. Instead, we should focus on our relationships, helping the people around us and finding bliss in little things every day. Life is too short to hurt others and hold grudges, to have regrets and keep feelings inside.

As I sat at the vigil to celebrate Melissa’s life, I saw people gather there to cherish her and all that she stood for, and I saw them lean on others for support. Everyone held on to each other that much tighter. And as I watched the sun come down and cast a pinkish hue over the lake, I found some meaning in this senseless tragedy.

Life is short and fragile and fleeting. Life is scary. But that doesn’t mean we should live in fear. Instead, we should remember that life is also exciting and fulfilling and beautiful. We should embrace that fear in a way that pushes us to be the best versions of ourselves. Melissa’s passing was horrible and unfair. But we can learn from it. Living our lives in the fullest way possible is her legacy.

Melanie Martinez is a sophomore majoring in journalism.

April 2, 2014

Reporters

Melanie Martinez


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was midweek when Miami leading receiver Braxton Berrios wistfully spoke of his four years as a Hu ...

Eli Rosier will be back where he belongs Saturday, where he feels most at home. He will be at a foot ...

The 11th-ranked University of Miami men’s basketball team remained undefeated with a 90-59 victory o ...

They remain undefeated — but still untested. The 11th-ranked University of Miami men’s basketball te ...

It has inspired T-shirts and a Migos-style hype song. Soon, fans will have a beer brewed in honor of ...

The Finker-Frenkel Legacy Foundation gift will establish the Business Plan Competition Endowed Fund. ...

C. David Naylor, a UM Presidential Scholar and public health policy expert, provided insight into he ...

A cohort of five religious leaders from Miami, including a rabbi and imam from the University of Mia ...

Hollywood actress and star of the hit BET series Being Mary Jane gets real about gender, race and co ...

The annual development agreement meeting is a time for the city and University to share information ...

Here are three matchups to watch in Saturday's Senior Day game between the No. 3 Canes and Virg ...

The University of Miami volleyball team produced some late-match magic Friday night to outlast an in ...

Miami's seniors will play their final home game at Hard Rock Stadium when the Canes face Virgin ...

Six Hurricanes were in double figures as the Hurricanes improved to 3-0 on the season. ...

The University of Miami rowing team introduced the newest members of the Hurricanes rowing program o ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.