What does it mean to be a hero? Is it the flashy logo, the sidekick or the fame? Maybe it is starring in a comic book, or having a secret identity. Whatever it is, I believe that my grandmother is the perfect definition. She doesn’t have a spiffy outfit, no cape or super powers, nothing; she is just an average, everyday person like you and I, but she is the strongest and bravest individual I have ever met.
About five years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 60. She went into remission and not even a year later, the doctors told her that the cancer had come back and that this time had metastasized into her bones and liver, meaning it had become fatal. No one knew how long she had, but we knew it wasn’t long. For all the years that my grandma suffered, all the pain and sorrow she endured, I never once heard her complain. She would notice me looking low, about to cry, and would touch my arm whispering, “It’s only my Cadillac sweetie, I’m perfectly fine, my engines just a little rusty.” I had heard that many times before and yet still couldn’t find it in my mind to believe it. No matter how bad the doctors told her the cancer was, she still believed she could overcome it. The time I would have spent worrying and feeling sorry for myself she spent trying to comfort and tell us that it would be okay. That it was the Lords way what was happening to her and “what was meant to be will be.” She was the only one in pain and yet it was her family who looked and seemed to feel it the most.
My grandmother has been out on our high school track every summer for the past five years at the Relay for Life, collecting those paperclips and fighting for a cure. She spent most of her free time finding ways to raise money and help the Susan G. Kormen Breast Cancer Foundation. In her words, she knew the money she raised wouldn’t help her, but it would optimistically give others like her the chance to live healthily and beat this horrid disease. Her one dream was that one day there would be a cure for cancer. She hoped that in the future, no one would have to go through what she and her family did.
To this day I believe that hope has the power to keep us alive and gives us all something to look forward to. I now think of my grandmother and smile. I remember all the times she tucked me into bed and sang me to sleep, or the times we had to pull over in the car because she couldn’t drive in the snow. I don’t think of the pain and sorrow she went through and how much I miss her; I think of the tremendous, monumental amount of hope she had and shared with everyone around her. No matter how bad the situation got, she kept her head up. I believe she is a true hero, better than Superman, and she definitely beats out Spiderman.
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