This I Believe

Talene - Wilbraham, Massachusetts
Entered on May 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in scars, as in the scars you get when you have overcome adversity. They show that you were hurt and have healed. I believe in falling because it gives you the opportunity to get back up. I believe in rain, because after it falls there is a rainbow. So I believe in optimism. I believe that there is a good in everything, and to find it will make each and every struggle easier to overcome.

My grandfather developed medical complications last summer and was repeatedly in the hospital due to shortness of breath. Our family cancelled our annual trip to Quebec because of his illness despite his determination to proceed with the trip. This vacation was the highlight of every year for him, not just because of Quebec, but because nothing thrilled him more than spending a few small moments with the ones he loved.

My grandfather’s most precious token was family, and he would exemplify his pride with tears of joy each time we were all together. The tiniest occurrences wouldn’t cease to bring a smile to his face, and his optimism always managed to shine through no matter the circumstances. Even throughout this trying time he maintained his sense of humor and held on to his positive attitude on life. His infectious confidence made me believe that everything would be okay, and as I had hoped, his return from the hospital was followed by a miraculous comeback. Suddenly he wanted to experience everything as if he was a new person. My grandfather’s philosophy has always been to “look at the glass half full.”

This past November, he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and before we were able to cope with the news, he passed away in December. I distinctly remember my father confronting me with the news, and even though I knew that he was hurting inside, he was still capable of seeing this as a blessing. His optimism and the tone of his voice reassured me that this was for the best. My grandfather’s cancer was more advanced than anyone had known, and he only had to deal with the thought of having cancer for merely two weeks. For a man who loved life so much, for him to live with the thought of being ill would have been a death sentence in itself. This way he didn’t have to endure the suffering and pain. With this belief in mind, I came to the realization that as difficult as this was for me to cope with, it was truly the best for him.

There is so much good in life that sometimes the bad inevitably has to filter in with it. Yet it always helps to look for the best in any situation. That is what I believe. That is what I live by. And that is how I stay strong. Through my grandfather’s passing is when I learned what he always knew.