Although my grandma never had very much money and she struggled to make ends meet, I never came home from any store empty handed. I believe the young lady I’ve grown to be is because of my grandma’s influence on my life. The sad thing is I didn’t appreciate it until it was too late.
My grandma and I were very close. It was a tradition to have her come stay the night with my family on Christmas Eve and in the morning we would all open presents together. I was the only grandchild for about eleven years, and I was amazed every year by the presents my grandma managed to get me, the presents were all that I had asked for. She somehow knew everything I wanted and I knew every Christmas those things would be under the tree.
My grandma was in prefect health and only about 73 years old, which seems old for a grandma, but I never could have imagined her not being with my family. After all, she took care of people younger than herself that weren’t capable of taking care of themselves. I never heard her complain once about how poor she was or how bad her life seemed even when the bills piled up. She continued to work through those times. I always wondered how she managed to keep her head up when things were bad, and that’s something I learned from her. No matter how bad you think your life might be there is probably someone who has it worse than you so be thankful for the life your living.
The day that changed my life was the day my grandma called to say she was sick. By the time we got to her house she was unconscious. No one at the hospital could figure out what was wrong with my grandma, because she had always been in perfect health. Before anyone knew it we were saying our last words to her, less than two hours after arriving at the hospital. I chose not to go in and see her before she slipped away that way I would remember her when she was happy, not in pain.
Although this is still painful to think about four years later, I have learned to become the person I am today because of my grandma. She instilled in me the values of life by showing me the way I should treat people. I learned to appreciate everything I have and all of the privileges and choices I get to make. My life is no worse than anyone else’s. I respect people more now that my grandma is gone and I will always remember those who made a great impact on my life, exactly like the impact my grandma made on my life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.