I jittered with excitement as I boarded the elegant cruise ship to Alaska. This was a long-awaited trip that my mother had promised my brother and me. The lesson that I learned about family devotion and steadfastness overshadowed the cruise experience.
Four years ago, my mom, my brother, my Uncle Phil, my grandmother, and I went on a cruise to Alaska. For the first half of the week, we never stopped eating or laughing. The sights were wonderful with the crisp wind biting our faces. Nonetheless, I loved spending time with my family. Then, my grandmother got sick; her heart rate dropped significantly. The cruise ship had to stop, go back to the last port, and take my grandmother off the ship. My mom went with her, so Uncle Phil had to take care of my brother and me. At the time, my brother was seven years old, and I was ten.
Uncle Phil had to step in and play a parental role. Since he didn’t have any kids, he had no experience in parenting. However, he showed patience and compassion. Because my brother had severe allergies, Uncle Phil made sure that my brother didn’t eat anything bad and gave him the daily medications. Although my mom and grandmother weren’t there, Uncle Phil made sure that my brother and I had a good time.
While we three were relaxing on the cruise ship, my mother and grandmother endured a four-hour ambulance ride through the rough terrain of Alaska. When my grandmother arrived at the small community hospital in Canada, she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. However, this hospital didn’t have a cardiologist on staff; therefore, my mom and grandmother were airlifted to Harbor View Hospital in Seattle, Washington. My other uncle, Uncle Doug, and his wife flew into Seattle from Southern California to help my mother. After my grandmother was discharged from the hospital, she flew back to Southern California with my mom, Uncle Doug, and his wife.
After the entire family arrived back into Los Angeles, California, we all came together in Chinatown to eat dinner. As we were eating our scrumptious meal, we shared our experiences and expressed our relief that my grandmother had recovered. Our family sensed the heartfelt gratitude between my mom and her brothers for their loyalty. Each of them dropped what they were doing in their own busy lives and only thought about each other’s wellbeing. This experience taught me what “family” means and led me to believe in family togetherness. Close families contain the strongest love, and they will support each other when hard times come. I now realize that my family will stand behind each other no matter what happens.
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