I believe that the trials we overcome make us stronger.
In late May of 2007, my grandparents, in their beautiful, brand-new, gleaming Cadillac, were hit by a driver who was intoxicated by three times the legal limit. For weeks after the wreck, my granddad was unresponsive, and the doctors informed our family that he would spend the rest of his life in a vegetable state. My grandfather, in his will, had stated not to prolong his life if it became dependent upon machines. My family was no left with the decision. This news served as a huge blow to the family. Each responded in a different fashion. The men, ever stoic, tried to show little to no emotion publicly. Among the women, tempers flared and sniping comments bounced from wall to sterilized wall. Of course, we were all devastated.
However, because my father and I have always been incredibly close, I was allowed insight into how he viewed his father’s impending death. His response has shaped me. My father was at peace with the situation. He had spoken with my grandfather just weeks before the wreck. My granddad was comfortable with his soul and the way he had lived his life: he had no qualms about where he would be after death. When the time came, he decided he would welcome it with open arms. My father said to me, “I can think of no way that your granddad would rather go. He wouldn’t want to sit in a retirement home awaiting the days. He’d want to go out in a spectacular car crash. That’s just who he is.”
It’s not that my father wanted to see my granddad go. He cried, as everyone would. But because my granddad was so at peace, so entirely certain, so unchangingly decided that he was ready, it allowed my father to feel that same peace. Because I was enabled to see my father’s hopeful insight in the situation, I was also afforded an astounding new outlook upon life and death. I now know that death is not something to be feared. Death is conquerable. Death is not personified; it is merely an occurrence. The accident which my grandparents suffered certainly changed everyone in my family; although, I know not how each one has been affected. However, I know how I have been affected. I am stronger.
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