An old woman, a doctor, a man, and a toddler. Ask yourself, ladies and gentlemen, who would I trust most?
It’s subjective: The old woman for her wisdom, the doctor for his knowledge, the man for his genuine gaze, and the toddler for her innocence.
But you see… you’re an outsider in the situation. Your answer is irrelevant, no offense. You are the bystander. These 4 people had to take part in this perilous dilemma. The dramatic phrasing seems unnecessary but when you think of how profound the problem gets, it becomes clear: the decisions and the conclusions drawn are of imminent permanence and will affect every single one of them forever.
I was the um… the toddler. Potty-trained, mind you.
My grandma was the old woman. A dying old woman. My dad was ballistic. Never have I been more afraid of my father; neither had the doctor of any other patient. My dad kept asking the poor man to find the cure for this monster that was taking my grandma away… what he didn’t seem to know was that this man didn’t have connections with GOD or something… there was no cure and even if this man was incredibly capable, the cure was not yet discovered.
The doctor was a young man, fresh out of college. He was very bright. Only problem was he didn’t think he could perform the one surgery that could possibly save my Abuelita’s life. And he kept saying, “I can’t”. And all my dad did was slip out of his insanity for a moment and tell the young man, “Yes you can.” In those three words, my father placed my grandmother’s life in his hands.
All of us believed in him, the doctor, and in my grandma. However, the odds were against us, and sure enough, the surgery did not work. My grandmother died in 1996. She was gone in the blink of an eye.
So… me. I was 4 years old. My dad wouldn’t smile or eat Cheerios anymore. Not even without milk! And I would ask him, because it’s easy to miss a man that was so happy all the time, and even more so if he’s your dad. “I can’t, honey,” he’d reply. And, quoting him, I would come back with “yes you can”. Lo and behold, he got the message.
Slowly, the color returned to his cheeks, and he started with Lucky Charms (taking it slow), and he worked his way back up to Cheerios.
You see, even as my father cried himself to sleep, as the doctor denied his capability, as my grandmother was coming to terms with her frailty and the odds of her survival, and as I watched everything happen, I realized something very very important.
Everyone is worth believing in. Everyone deserves a “yes you can”. My grandmother kept fighting, the doctor kept trying to make the monster inside her go away, my daddy smiles every single day now and I was able to tell you this story without breaking down…completely.
Society tells us to believe in many things: God, or a god, the government, love… what’s really worth it? All of the above. Everything. Everything you see and don’t see. Believe in hope, love, happiness, joy, survival, triumph…. Everything good and half good. EVERYONE is worth believing in.
This I, Amanda, believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.