This I Believe

Emily - Palm desert, California
Entered on January 10, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, family

I believe that everything happens for a reason. Sir Isaac Newton once said that “an object in motion tends to stay in motion in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force”; I guess you could say that I was acted upon right before I entered into my first year of high school. I was born in a podunk town towards the center of Washington State, named Yakima. I lived there most of my life, up through my last year of middle school. The plan was to live in Yakima for the rest of my life, or so I thought. About half way through eighth grade, my grandpa in Palm Desert was diagnosed with lung cancer, and had less than six months to live. From that point on, any notion of what my life was going to be went out the window.

It was a choice that had been pre-decided, “Before I was even a glimmer in her eye,” my mom said that we would move to take care of my grandparents when they became ill. So we packed all of our belongings into our beatup blue ford and made the week long drive to Palm Desert, California, on what would be the hottest day of my life. Thinking that the upholstery of the car seat had become permanently affixed to my body in this new unbelievable weather, I took a look out the window at every strategically placed palm tree, and kept my eyes open for celebrities that I assumed would be walking down the sidewalks in this new fast-paced town. I would be calling this home for the next four years of my high school career.

My grandpa passed about seven months after we arrived, with our entire family at his bedside, and my hand in his. It was unreal in the fact that I could almost feel him passing, like grains of sand through ones fingers. I felt helpless and frustrated; it seemed as though the entire world should have stopped, been put on hold, with his death. But that’s the thing with death, life keeps on going. And my family and I went on day by day. I started high school in September of 2004.

Looking back now on my life in Palm Desert versus what it would have been in Yakima, I couldn’t be more thankful for being given all these opportunities. Who would have thought I would be taking Advanced Placement classes? Who would have thought I would be participating in clubs like Mock Trial, Youth & Government and Peer Mediation? Who would have thought I would become all grown up, into an independent, confident young woman? I still grieve for my grandpa, but I feel his guiding hand, the hand that held mine so tight that night that he passed.

This I believe, everything happens for a reason.