If there is anything in this world that is a must, it is to love, have faith, hope and be sad. You may disagree, or you may not, but that is what I believe. I am a Christian Lutheran; a child of God. In 1 Corinthians 13:13 it says ‘and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ It never said anything about you having to be happy or things going your way. You only have to hope that things will get better, have faith in your beliefs (in my case Jesus Christ), love your family and friends, and take the pain that comes with life.
I learned this lesson when I was a child. I don’t consider myself a child anymore, even though I am only 14. One might say it is unhealthy and others might say it is a healthy dose of maturity. I think that it has to do with the events that went on in my pre-teen years that changed the way I am now so completely. One of them, one of the ones I can talk about without feeling too much pain, is the death of my grandfather.
I was about nine or ten when he died. My father, Grandpa and I had lived together a long time with just us and the farm to take care of. My stepmom Kelly was already in the mix with her kids, my step siblings. They had just gotten married, my dad and Kelly, I think. I don’t remember much about that kind of thing because stressful memories are not what my mind likes to keep, but I do remember the morning I found out very clearly.
Kelly sat at the dining room table in her bathrobe when I came up the stairs. I could smell pancakes, but at that moment everything was kind of in a daze. My dad, my stepsister and my step brother, Matthew all looked up with tearful, devastated expressions as I opened the stairwell door. I immediately knew something was very wrong. My dad was in tears. That never, ever happened! He was and still is the strongest person I know. I saw the phone next to Kelly and I asked if everything was okay. She shook her head and said that Grandpa, my last living grandparent was dead. He had been in the hospital and he never had good health, but I always had figured that he would get better enough to come home like he always did.
You may expect me to say that I fell apart at that moment, which I did, but a part of me also came into awareness. My last real anchor on my hazy, dreamy childhood was now gone. In the time it took for me to heal from the pain of not seeing my grandfather, in his usual spot at the dining room with a cheerful good morning every morning or to just give me a hug when I needed it, or say one of his many funny little quips when somebody did something out of hand, I also pulled back the mask of childhood. Gradually I started to work extra hard in school and just be more of an active member of the family. I became more independent and started living without so much assistance of others around me.
During that time there were shadows in life that had already been planted in my mind and they got bigger. The other deaths of my other grandparents and other changes my life had take on really began to bother me more as I saw how very much my life had been turned up-side down. This meant I had to lean on my faith in god to make thing easier, to give me hope that my grief would pass soon and life would become more normal and emotionally bearable.
I had to hope that things would get better, give into the grief, and love the people around me and have faith. That is what got me through and that is what I think is the key to life. I am going to get confirmed this year and I will do it in memory of my grandfather who had one of the strongest faiths I know and was respected and loved by our whole congregation. I hope i make him proud and live up to the expectations set before me, for him.
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