They shut down the elementary school my grandmother previously worked at for two days after she died. My grandmother used to be a fourth grade teacher and she loved what she did. My grandmother was an important person in many people’s lives. My grandmother smoked since she was 17 years old; she died of a heart attack at age 56. I never got the chance to meet my grandmother. I was born six years after she died. My mother used to tell me as a little girl when I would ask for a toy at the store for no particular reason she would stories about my grandmother. My grandmothers family was not what you would call wealthy, her father worked in a factory and her mother was a stay at home mom. While you may think this is normal for a family back then things changed when my grandmother was very young. She brother Sunny had just gotten back from the war. You could see the joy on his face and on everyone’s face that he had made it back safely. A couple of his buddies and him went out to celebrate that not after his welcome home party. That was the last time my grandmother ever saw her older brother. Sunny and his friends had all been drinking, they got stuck on some railroad tracks and Sunny didn’t make it. My great-grandmother went crazy, my grandmother started to take care of her younger sister and all the housework. Her mom would just sit in a chair with a cigarette staring out into the oblivion, thinking why. My grandmother had a tough life, but she made it through all of the hard times and put herself through college. She did not think she deserved more than anyone else because of what she went through. In fact my mom said she gave up things for her to make sure her children never had to go through the same thing. Her former students say that she made school a fun place to be; a place where they can learn in a healthy, care-free environment. Marilyn Monroe once said, “I believe everything happens for a reason!…” I believe my grandmother died for a reason. My mother always told me these stories about her to teach me that I could do whatever I wanted as long as I got a good education. I believe that my grandmother would want me to follow in her footsteps to become a teacher. I believe that everything happens for a reason, whether good or bad. I believe that in God we should trust because he knows what he is doing. I believe that my grandmother dying will have an impact not only on me but the children she once taught and the children I will one day teach.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.