If the people of the world are a box of crayons, I am the bright yellow crayon. I am occasionally told by a pretty smart lady that if I am sad, the world does not seem right. I enjoy that fact. Sometimes, it can become difficult to live up to the standard of always being happy, as it is impossible to be happy all the time, but I enjoy the challenge nonetheless. I believe in happiness. I believe that one person’s happiness on a day when your feeling more like the gray crayon instead of a yellow crayon can suddenly inspire happiness of your own. I believe that we should be happy for as long as we can know what happiness is all about.
The inspiration for my happiness falls behind my grandmother. For those of you who do not know Margaret Tyner, you’re missing out. She is the brightest of the yellow crayons. She lives in the moment, loves to laugh, and always radiates happiness. My grandmother still shows all of these traits, but it’s a little different now. About six years ago my grandmother began to forget things. She would go to the beauty parlor three or four times a day, forgetting that her hair had already been pinned and sprayed. Milk was often found expired in the refrigerator, and the coffee pot was left on constantly. Grandmother continued to forget more things and we had many talks with her, but her independent spirit never acknowledged the fact that she was becoming forgetful. She continued to slip, and the things she was forgetting became more serious. As time passed it became obvious that my grandmother had a relatively severe case of dementia. Sometimes she couldn’t remember our names, but she still knew who we were and her face lit up every time she had her family with her. It was not until one Wednesday night when my family was eating at her house with her and her care giver that I realized that my Grandmother would never be the same. I was walking around her house with her ooohhing and ahhhing at the family pictures that she has displayed when suddenly she turned to me, looked me in the eye, stuck out her hand, and said “Oh! I’m sorry, I don’t believe we have met. I’m Margaret Tyner.” I swallowed my tears and replied by saying “Well Mrs. Tyner, I think we might have once before, I’m Carol Tyner.” I put extra emphasis on the “Tyner” part as she always does, but it didn’t seem to faze her.
My grandmother does not know who I am anymore, but she is (for the most part) always happy to see me. Grandmother actually doesn’t remember much at all anymore, and coming to that realize her memory would not magically come back was one of the hardest things I have had to deal with. Some days I have a hard time dealing with the reality of the situation, and on those days, I resent the stereotype that I am always happy. I resent it because it makes it extremely obvious when something is wrong and then the questions start pouring in about my unhappy state-which usually only make things worse. The past couple of months have been a little hard for me, dealing with the inevitable college changes and thinking about not seeing my best friends everyday. While I know some of the changes ahead of me will be difficult, somehow Grandmother always reminds me to just be happy. I have my whole life ahead of me, and I don’t want to spend it dwelling on things that cannot be fixed. I would rather be happy. I would rather be the yellow crayon. My happiness is for myself, my friends, my family but most of all Grandmother. I believe in happiness.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.