Pain was an old friend I got used to carrying. Somehow, it always made its way into every suitcase I packed. Like a ghost, it was my silent travel companion.
In India, it accompanied me to every temple and church. It was the cause of the tears I shed along the Arabic Sea. Instead of focusing on the dolphins floating along the Goan coast, I looked out on the horizon and nursed my broken heart.
Pain does not require a passport and thus made its way to Italy with me. As I knelt at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, grateful I was beginning my new journey last spring, my merciless companion was busy at work. Tears, pregnant with pain, trickled down to my bent knees as I prayed for peace and a mended soul.
Once the school year began, my concealed enemy permeated every wine and cheese tasting I was supposed to be enjoying. Much like a sensor you cannot control, my depression came and went as it pleased. Determined to beat it, I busied myself with school, new friends and more travels.
This summer, somewhere along a dusty road in the Romanian countryside, something shifted. As I walked uphill carrying a 20 pound backpack, I stopped to take in the view. Small blueberry bushes exhibited their lush fruit. A dog barked in the distance. Morning clouds had scattered, allowing the sun to warm my skin. I thought of Mami.
Since losing my mother two years ago I have walked a path painted in shades of grey. While there have been bursts of color along the way, depression pinned me to a shadowy corner. But that morning in Transylvania my load felt lighter as I climbed towards happiness.
Life sometimes becomes an uphill battle but my mother taught me that you must persevere. You must do what it takes to power through. Do you know what happens along the way? You shed layers of unhappiness and before knowing it, you see the light again.