This I Believe

Michael - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 17, 2007

Outside the snow was falling, something I can relate to, but because I was the new kid from the north, there was no one to build a snowman with. A girl around my age walks up to me with a sled and simply says, “Want to play?” From that moment on it was the classic story of boy meets girl and girl changes boy’s life.

A couple of weeks later, we were inseparable, along with some of the other kids in the neighborhood. Our parents were forced to interact, and in a couple of months they were good, if not better friends than we were.

Our community grew together and after a while, it seemed more like one large family than a neighborhood. One time, I was home sick with the chicken pox, and by the end of the day, three mothers had come to visit me; four including my own. If I missed the bus, I could always rely on the neighbor next door to give me a ride. Instead of having neighbors I had aunts, uncles, and people I could only describe as brothers and sisters.

People came and went but the original “family” remained close. We ate together, celebrated together, and at times, grieved together, but no matter what happened, you always had someone to fall back on. Until all at once, it came crashing down.

Years passed and we all knew Miss Nancy was sick, but no one ever fully understood the extent of her illness. We were all too young and naive. Her cancer had progressed, and one summer, she went from recovery to the hospital. By the weekend after that, she had passed away. I hadn’t only lost a neighbor; I had lost a second mother. Out of all the people in my life, she was the kindest women I had ever met. It didn’t matter whether or not she was related to me; all that mattered was that a woman who had such a profound effect on me was gone.

My best friend tried to make is seem as though she thought everything was better, and she had come to terms with the loss of her mom, but I knew her too well to be fooled. We both realized that without her; nothing would ever be the same. No one could ever replace her.

Miss Nancy, to this day, has had the greatest effect on my life. Because of her, I learned the importance of truth and kindness. Her positive influence on me has lasted even after her death, and will continue to long after I have grown. Had I not accepted these people as my family, none of this change would have occurred.

I believe in the importance of family. I believe that this term not only applies to blood relatives, but to the people that surround and inspire you. Most importantly, I believe in the effect these people have on your life.