I believe that everything happens for a reason. God puts us on this earth so that we can grow from our experiences, and become stronger from the obstacles he provides us with. These words were spoken to me by my father at the time of my grandpa’s passing.
On December 26, 2004 my grandpa was murdered. He had done nothing wrong to be given this tragic death, but then again no one does. At the age of 14, he had gotten a job and provided for his mom and three sisters. Taking care of others was like his job. He served over forty years on the Chicago Fire Department before retiring in 1992. Even when there was a scarce amount of money, my grandpa still made sure to donate a few dollars each month to every organization that scouted him.
My grandfather used to bring food, socks, etc. to the homeless that he passed. Occasionally he would help them find a place to stay. During the winter of 2004 he had decided to help a man out by putting him up in a motel. Unfortunately, this man was addicted to drugs.
When his body was found the next night, our family was devastated. My mom was affected it by it significantly, because she was daddy’s one and only girl out of her five brothers [one of whom is deceased]. All twelve of my aunts and uncles stayed at my grandma’s home for the upcoming weeks.
The little house on New England was filled with gallons of tears, and endless stories of my grandpa’s life. New Year’s Eve that year was solemn, because of the funeral. My cousins and I laid around making thank you cards to the hundreds of people who came to remember him. We all shared stories of his brilliant patience, and his willingness to give to others even when he had nothing to give.
Our family has realized that these things do happen, and never would you expect them to happen, “in your own backyard.” The bond our family shares has grown stronger by realizing that our time on this earth can be stopped at any moment, and we want to spend as much time with each other as we possibly can. This was one of the many hardships our family has faced, and together we are surviving.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.