This I Believe

Erica - Lincoln, Nebraska
Entered on February 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: love

As odd as it may sound, I have a special relationship with my front door. My simple, ordinary, brown front door is – in and of itself – nothing special. It is, however, a symbolic reminder of another door in my life: one that inspires me on a daily basis. This particular door taught me about the importance of showing people how much you love them. That love is more the the words we exchange. Love is an interaction, a connection between us. Love is the things we do for each other, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

I believe love is a new front door.

A long time ago, walking the aisles of a hardware store, my grandparents came across a beautiful wooden door. In its center was a large oval window with intricately etched vines highlighting the edges. Grandma fell instantly in love with the door. She imagined how attractive and inviting it would look on the front of their home. As she stood there admiring the door, my Grandpa examined the price tag. In the end, they left without argument, and without the door.

Later that year, Grandpa’s health began to fail. Doctors informed us that he had an inoperable clot in an artery at the base of his brain. The clot was breaking off bit by bit, causing stroke after stroke, one no more than hours from the next, and each one more damaging. He lost his ability to eat, walk, and talk. Within days my Grandpa was scarcely recognizable from the strong and independent man I’d always known. Sensing the end was near, and when communication had become nearly impossible, Grandpa mustered the strength to say one last thing. Hand wavering, he pointed across the bed toward the door of the hospital room. My heart wrenched as I watched him struggle. He made painful noises with his throat as his body would not cooperate with his mind. I had no idea what he was trying to say… but Grandma thought she might. She remembered the door from the hardware store, but could hardly believe that he had. Her eyes welled up with tears. She went to the bed, took his hand, and whispered to him about the door. A look of satisfaction came over his eyes and Grandpa started to cry. He barely managed to squeeze her hand and nod his head.

In that moment, realizing what was happening, it occurred to me how carefully Grandpa had chosen his last “words”. Had he been able to speak, he couldn’t have been clearer. Their love was as physically visible as anything in the room. Their love took the shape of a new front door. And that door was purchased and installed in the days following Grandpa’s funeral. A solid wooden reminder to love, love hard, and let it be known.