Over the years I have come to realize that all things considered, life is bittersweet. I believe that bittersweet is the sweetest we can ask for. I know that most people tend to write about death as a life altering experience, but mine is much more complex than all that. When my grandmother died, I lost my best friend. She was the woman in my life who had cancer from the day I was born, but she was also the liveliest woman you were ever likely to meet. She was the president of the woman’s club, and every month she put on a party for the widow’s of her condo. Every month she would plan out a speech and read it to me over the phone, nervous at the start. She was the person who everyone trusted to put on a good party, and was always there for her friends when things fell apart. I learned a lot from her because no matter what she gave me a safe place to hide when things got rough.
When things got rough for her, when her health really began to decline, I did not return the favor. When she needed me by her bedside I could be found at my friend’s, avoiding the responsibility that was now morally required of me. When she finally passed away, I felt more relief than grief, and that has always been something I contemplate ever since. Perhaps I was too young; she passed away after my first year in high school, but what it really truly taught me was to value what someone gives you.
Life is bittersweet. It is easy to become addicted to the sweeter things life has to offer. What this experience taught me was that for every sweet moment in life, you must make a sacrifice to experience something bitter. If you run away from the bitter things in life, it will eventually find you, and overwhelm you completely.
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