My dad died in an avalanche when I was 13. Since then I have raised my 3 younger sisters and my mentally handicapped mother. Today I am 24.
To avoid confusion, my mother is the best mother in the world and not mentally retarded, quite intelligent actually. What I meant was that she was stricken with grief to the point where dealing with life was difficult.
I bought a house 3 years ago. Decided that being very good at DIY, I would rip it apart and redo everything as the place looked terrible. I gutted it completely. I figured it would take about 6 months. I ended up spending every evening and weekend for the last 2 years doing this while living in a small bedroom in my mother’s place.
For the last year of the project, every day I was edging closer to just giving up, which was actually not an option as the place was ripped apart and not livable, so I wouldn’t be able to sell it or live in it.
In 2009 I decided to surprise my mother by going home for Thanksgiving (she lives a few states away, about 5 hours drive). I never told anyone I was going. On the way down, I get a call from my father, who lives even further away from her, telling me my younger brother, (who still lived with my mother) had shot himself in the head. I was still 3 hours away. Longest drive of my life.
When I arrived he was still technically “alive” on ventilator, etc but he was gone. I had to physically restrain my hysterical mother in the hospital when he finally died in front of all his friends and his girlfriend, about 40 minutes after I got there. I then had to call my father and tell him that his son was dead.
After leaving the hospital, I went back to my mother’s house and cleaned up his room, where he had done it.
He was 20.
On New Years’ Eve, I had a grand mal seizure while visiting friends with my mom. A week and a half later, I was referred to a neuro-oncologist with the recommendation to begin chemotherapy ASAP and to consult a neurosurgeon. Two weeks later, I returned to complete my final semester as an undergraduate with doctor’s appointments lined up. My student health insurance would not approve treatments until the student health center referred me to another specialist and did the tests again. I didn’t drop my job as an RA in the dorms. I front-loaded all the course-work I could while I redid MRI’s and a CT. I didn’t tell any of my residents. Other than close friends and work, no one knew, because even the doctors weren’t sure.
By April, the diagnosis was changed to a benign tumor. Surgery could wait until after graduations. I walked in all 3 ceremonies (general and 2 majors). 6 days later, I went in for surgery. I was released in 2 days. One month later, most of my hair is gone and I have a U shaped incision larger than my hand. I begin radiation therapy to ensure it doesn’t grow back in less than a month.
I submitted applications to internship programs and am waiting to hear back. I’m looking for part time jobs for the summer to cover expenses in the meantime. I am living in a sublet with people I don’t know because I have to stay near my school for school health insurance to cover the therapy.
I will apply to graduate schools for a Master’s degree in winter and spring. I will get a job within 2 months. I will work despite the therapy, medications, and side effects.
A tumor will not ruin my life.
When I was 14 I took my dads gun and sat it in my lap and stared at it for what seemed forever. Thinking if I should put a bullet in my head. I put the gun up to my temple and pulled the trigger…..When i heard only a click, I pulled the slide back to see if a bullet was cambered, there was. I ejected that one out and chambered a new round and pulled the trigger again. By this point I had collapsed into a heaving ball of tears and dread. The only thing that saved me was my ignorance of where the safety was on the damn thing. So your wondering, what was so hard about that? Well the hard part is when I had to tell my mom so i could get the help I needed. The hardest part was seeing the tears in her eyes. The hardest part was knowing that I’ve already had many near deaths before this moment and that I was willing to off myself. I finally got what was bugging me out, but everything that had attributed to it has still haunted me till recently (21 now) and I’m finally free.
When I was 18, I was staying with my aunt in philly, but we argued a lot, mostly over her kids (my cousins) digging through my stuff while I was at work at Taco Bell. After a few months of this, she kicked me out and threw all my clothes into the street in the back alley while I was out.
The rest of my family was down in Miami, so I was on the street. I put all my stuff in a hefty bag and asked the manager if I could keep it in the back of the store. She had a thing for me, so she agreed.
For the next month-and-a-half, I slept either in the woods near the store, or next to the store itself, but hidden in the bushes so I wouldn’t get busted. I got a membership at a nearby gym so I could shower and once a week I took the hefty bag and washed my clothes at a nearby laundry, all the while continuing to work at Taco Bell and saving money.
After the month-and-a-half, I had enough saved for a shitty apartment off of bridge and pratt and I was back on the grid.
7. Bless you
I was a NYPD 911 operator on 9/11. I took calls from people trapped in WTC. Hardest day of my life.
I was in Texas, and was cheated on by my ex and my best friend at the time who was also a cop in the town I lived in. I was disillusioned, miserable, and found out very quickly that my “great friends” weren’t so great when I needed some help. I broke into an abandoned trailer for a couple of weeks (it was December/January), until the people in the trailer park started noticing that I was there and questioned me. After that I slept whenever and wherever I could.
A guy I knew fairly well was a bartender, and he let me sit at his bar all day and drink free iced tea. He’d throw me a burger when he could. After a few months I met someone there who offered to let me sleep in a camper on his land. I borrowed his computer and started blogging for six bucks per post. Then it was just a matter of saving every penny that I could until I was able to find someone who was willing to rent me a room. From there I found places in walking distance to work, and kept writing.
Now I live near Vegas, have an amazing girlfriend, own an online magazine, and do freelance copy writing whenever I’m able to find someone who needs some work.
Gave the eulogy at my mom’s funeral.
10. Uhh…Bear Grylls?
My cousin Tim is an adventurous guy. He’s a social worker turned international aid worker, and he’s pretty much been in every hellhole in the world. So when he decided to go to India to hike in the Himalayas, he didn’t think that it would be a huge deal. He found some cheap Indian travel agency which provided a guide for groups of hikers in the Himalayas. He went with a group of three German guys who seemed friendly enough. They hiked for about 2 weeks away until things started getting weird. The guide informs Tim that they’ll be stopping in a very remote mountain village, and that it’s of utter importance that he looks no one in the eye and maintains perfect silence. The guide sells it as a “great tourist location” (wtf) as this village has been mostly isolated from the rest of the world for its entire existence, as it’s very inaccessible. The Germans, at this point, tell my cousin that they’re drug dealers and they’re picking up a bunch of hash from this village.
So Tim wants to turn back, but the guide is clearly getting a cut from the Germans and continues with them. Tim decides that he’ll probably die if he tries to go back by himself, so he decides to weather it out and go to the drug trade. Bad decision.
They meet up with the locals and the drug trade goes south. Now, my cousin doesn’t understand a word that’s being said, but he does get the message when, after the drugs exchange hands, the Germans pull out their guns and one of them shoots in the air. The tribe leader says something back, which the guide translates as “We will find you tonight and we will kill you while you sleep.”
So Tim spends the night in his tent, clutching his hatchet and praying for his life. At about 4 am, he starts to hear people outside the tent. He bolts. He runs for about 2 hours, bringing nothing with him but his hatchet, hearing gunshots in the distance. He’s completely off the trail and 2 weeks from civilization with no supplies except for a hatchet. He also broke his arm when he fell from running. He realizes that his best bet is to follow a stream until it turns into a river, which he does. Long story short, he manages to find his way to a road, and on that road he finds someone. He gets to the nearest hospital to treat his arm, and he’s diagnosed with fucking MALARIA. He said, after about a week into the hike, that he had started to feel absolutely terrible, but he had just attributed it to a different climate and food.
The best part? After he was healed up, he went to the travel agency and demanded his money back.
Deleting my Mother from my cell phone after she died.
Signing my mother’s Do Not Resuscitate order shortly before her ventilator was removed. She died two days later.
Probably that I made it through my first year of medical school while raising 3 children as a widowed single mother. And did well in school. Going to my husband’s funeral was also hard but at least it didn’t last too long and I was still in shock that he was dead so I don’t remember it much. Also, being on bed rest for 10 weeks with placenta previa and intermittent hemorrhaging while pregnant with my twins, knowing the real risks to the babies and myself, was incredibly anxiety-proving and ranks up there with difficult things I’ve done.
I learned how to walk again after suffering partial paralysis due to being in an automobile collision. The right side of my body was paralyzed, but I worked hard and today I’ve got 90%+ of my moving ability back!
15. Saying goodbye
Completely cut my old crowd of friends out of my life.
They represented my old way of life, of drug abuse, vandalism, shoplifting, etc. I needed to move beyond that or it was going to land me in serious trouble, both legal and health-wise. Yet some of these friends were still genuinely good people, despite involving me in all that.
It was harder than I expected.
My dad took his own life while I wasn’t speaking to him. To say I felt guilty would be a massive understatement – I felt responsible. Becoming able to look at my reflection in the mirror again is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Came out to my incredibly conservative family as trans.
The hardest thing I’ve ever done is waking up, dealing with the kids, the wife, the ball busting cunt of a boss, the bills, the fucking mortgage that never ends, rising prices of everything yet the money coming in is flat…all the while not picking up a gun and going on a murderous rampage.
19. That’s hard
(Trying to) Forgive my Wife for having an affair.
21. A lonely drive
Drive the 9.5 hours home alone the day my mother passed away.
My first full marathon. I wanted to cry when I finally saw the finish line.
23. Final farewell
I spent 3 weeks attempting to stage-manage the death of my mother from cancer, to make sure she was getting decent palliative care, and wasn’t just sedated into oblivion, and to spend as much time with her as I could. Her doctor wouldn’t even visit her in person for six days after getting her transferred into a nursing home, or respond to calls. She was supposed to be getting hospice care, which I understood to mean she would someone qualified on hand. But apparently hospice care means different things in different contexts and what it meant in this one was that there was a hospice nurse we could call, but if we wanted her to have people around her it was up to us. We had to start managing a schedule of visitors to sit with her, and that was hard. A lot of people with the best of intentions really, deep down, don’t want to spend time with the dying, even if the dying person is a close friend.
Her doctor basically prescribed her enough morphine to keep her asleep; basically tried to euthanize her. I had to exercise my power of attorney to withhold her medication so she could be conscious and interact with her family. I exhausted myself so much that I physically collapsed and spent an evening hallucinating. I had to sleep late and spend a few hours with my family, who were all staying in a hotel, and we had lunch together, and then got the call that she was twitching and thrashing. I got on the phone trying to get the hospice nurse back there, and then got another call saying that she had died and I wasn’t there — although she was with other family. I did get to sit with her body and speak to her for a little while and that was a great comfort to me.
I blew through all my vacation time and basically had to take comp time, which I immediately had to start making up by working overtime. Under three weeks later my wife’s father died and I was really not able to be present for her, emotionally or physically. 2007 was a brutal year.
Finishing college after my father murdered my three siblings, killed himself, and then burnt our house down. Giving a shit about anything, especially college, took awhile. I will get my degree in Mechanical Engineering in August.
I’ve been working at a start-up company for the past 5 years. 3 years ago, my gf and I gave up our salaries for stock-only compensation and moved into the founder’s house. We work 70 to 80 hours a week, no days/holidays/vacations off unless we happen to be sick. Conservatively, in that time, I’ve put in 4368 hours of work. Things I learned that I knew nothing about before joining the company: digital/analog circuit design basics, AI programming, 3 new programming languages, video editing/voice over, GUI design/dev, various development methodologies, business/management strategies, linux linux linux, server hardware, Reddit and more. I have little/no income and my credit/taxes are shot to shit. Definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done (and am still doing) in my life.
26. Had nothing
When I was 18, I hit my dad in the head with a baseball bat. Crushed his skull in. I spent the first 18 years of my life dealing with his alcoholism and physical abuse. I spent a year and a half in prison, cited by self defense. When I was released, I had no friends, no place to live, no car. At that point, I realized no one was going to help me. If I wanted something, I had to earn it.
I got a job at McDonald’s, put myself through college, and took every opportunity I got. I worked harder than anyone I knew. No one looks wants to hire a felon. With patience and persistence, I battled passed the black mark on my life, and my haunting childhood.
I’m now 27, making over 100k as a software engineer in the Bay Area, and married to the woman of my dreams.
I walked 35 miles along the Appalachian Trail in PA with a leg that was broken in 22 places. The stupid thing was, I didn’t break the leg on the trip, I broke it beforehand. I was poor and had already paid for the trip, the leg was too swollen to cast, and I am extremely stubborn. I strapped on an air cast and went for the weekend hike. After about 300 feet, I realized I wasn’t going to make it without a little help, so I sat down and cut two ski-pole-like walking sticks and used them instead of crutches. The foot swelled up so badly I could not take off the boot to sleep, for fear that I’d never get it back on, and after the trip, I could not walk for three days or so. After the swelling went down, my doctor was astonished to find that the leg had mended at about twice the normal rate, and ended up advocating for earlier physical therapy in cases like mine. I ended up never needing a cast, since the fractures were not compound and did not require setting, and had started to heal themselves back together during the hike.
I think this actually qualifies as both hard and lazy.
I spent about a month developing a suite of scripts that automates 90% of my job. I worked day and night, sometimes 16-18 hours a day fine tuning everything so that nearly all aspects of my job could be done with a script. It does everything from installing an OS to setup to collecting logs and emailing them to me in the event of something bad happening.
I did it all so that I could read comic books and watch movies at work.