This, I believe
My mother always told me that a person has a choice of who they become. I believe that a person is shaped by the circumstances that they are put through. My life was change in less than thirty minutes. It was a routine afternoon with no worries. I stayed home to take care of my grandmother until my mom got off work. It was on this ordinary day that I learned what the most important part of life is, family.
Guinny was diagnosed with cancer; doctors gave her about six months to live. When they found it, it was in her brain. She lived on her own until she couldn’t take care of herself anymore; then she moved in with us. During the day, when my mom had to work, I stayed with her. I remember, I complained to my mom everyday about having to stay home and watch her when I could be out having fun. It didn’t register that this was my grandmother; she wasn’t going to get better. She was never going to walk on her own again. She was never going to be able to carry on a normal conversation with me again. She was never going to be the strong yet delicate Guinny that I knew.
The day when I changed my values, guinny was nearing her death. What happens to someone with brain cancer is, over time, parts of the brain just stop working. With in a year, guinny went from walking and living on her own to sitting in a wheelchair not able to lift her arm to take a drink of water. On this day I feed her and we watched classic TV Land shows for hours. At about two o’clock she took a nap and everything was going smoothly.
I laid her down and came back about an hour and a half later to wake her. I called her name and she didn’t respond so I tapped on her shoulder; still no response. A cold unforgettable feeling crawled down my spine and I was in panic mode. I began to say her name louder and louder; still no response. I took her shoulders and sat her up; still no response. I could see her breathing so I knew she wasn’t dead. I ran to the bathroom to get a wet rag to squeeze the water onto her face. She opened her mouth with a very weak sigh. My eyes poured. I sat her up against some pillows and walked outside to pull myself together because I didn’t want her to see I’d been crying. When I got back to the room she knew and she said, “It’s going to be OK”, with a slight smile. I hugged her and my eyes poured once again.
This event made me realize how stupid I had been for complaining to my mother about having to take care of guinny. It opened my eyes to the importance of family. They are the people you are tied to. Family is deeper than any friendship and they will always be a part of you. Don’t take for granted life gifts, we don’t have very long to enjoy them.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.