This I Believe

Christopher - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on November 22, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

I believe that family should matter the most in life. My family is the most important thing to me in my life, but it wasn’t always this way.

I have always been separated from my extended family because we live in different areas of the country. My mother’s family lives in East Syracuse, New York, and my father’s in San Jose, California. This separation caused me to rarely see my family and even to forget the names of some of my relatives, even my godfather. All throughout my life, I have felt separated from my family, so it was weird when my mother’s father would always preach to me about how much family should matter in my life. I was a bit too young to understand the full force of what he was saying, but—in a year that I will never forget-his preaching finally came to life.

On November 2, 2004, Election Day, a call came through from East Syracuse, New York. It was from my mother’s parents, who are strong Democrats as opposed to my family’s Republican state. My mom talked with her mother and father for hours on end, as usual. When she finally finished talking to my grandfather, the election returns supported that Bush was set to win again. The last words my grandfather said to my mom were, “I don’t think I can live another four years with Bush,” and he wouldn’t have to. Later that night, another call came through from New York, and it was my Uncle Dave. The second I picked up the phone, I knew something was wrong. I don’t know if it was because it was so late or if I just sensed that something had happened, but something was wrong. My Uncle Dave asked for my mother, and I handed her the phone. I stood in her doorway as I watched her heart drop and understood what had happened. She didn’t even have to tell me. I knew my grandfather was gone. She told me that he slipped into his final heart attack in his cushy red recliner watching the election returns. One of the most important people in my life was taken away from me, never to be seen again. He finally got his point across that year when he came down for my Confirmation on April 24 and was my sponsor. He didn’t have to come down for that week that he was here, but he did and that really showed me that family was his priority. Even though he was aging and suffered from heart disease, he still came down for me. Granted, I already knew that family mattered, but he instilled in me the fact that it is the most important force in the world. I am honored to have had him be my Confirmation sponsor, and I just wish I could tell him how much he means to me. Six months and nine days later, he was gone.

So now I realize what he was talking about all those years while I sat there twiddling my thumbs. He was telling me two things: number one, family matters the most in life because they are always there for you even through inconvenience. Number two: do what you can with your family because you never know when they might be gone.

My grandfather taught me that family matters most, and this I believe.