This I Believe

Adam - Colorado
Entered on November 12, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death, family, legacy

Hello, my name is Adam. Recently, my great-papa (great-grandfather) passed away. He was 99 years old. I was lucky to have known him a few of those years. He had four children, nine grandchildren, and 14 and counting great grandchildren. His legacy is his gratitude, his work, and his love; these are values that I believe in as well.

Before his death, his eyesight was all but gone and hearing failing. He started to lose it around age 96. Some days, he said he wished that he didn’t have to suffer, but then he stopped himself and reminded himself that he should grateful for his condition. He has had horrible migraine headaches since an early age, the last five years of his life were lived through a fog so thick that he couldn’t see or hear. His wife died much before he did. But he was always grateful for his situation.

One day when we were visiting him in Eldorado, Illinois, my dad asked him why he thought he was still alive. He responded simply, saying “I suppose God’s not through with me yet.” But once he had met all of his grandkids or re-visited them, he passed away peacefully. I think his purpose was to make us see how grateful we should be and to spread his love. His love was his family and his work. Work is doing something you like to do and are skilled at doing, he used to say. But no matter what it was, he sat down and got to it. He would work and laugh at the same time.

In life, some things are rare and some are ubiquitous, but you need gratitude, work, and love to be happy. From my recent trip back to his house for the last time, I remembered all the memories I had there and I was grateful for them. Gratefulness will lead to love and happiness. I believe in this because he was one of the most content people I knew, and after his funeral, everybody there seemed to be thinking about the same things, grateful for each other, working and laughing, and loving one another.