This I Believe

Valerie - Lenexa, Kansas
Entered on February 23, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, family, legacy

Before June 28th 2008, I had viewed death as an end. When you watch a show like CSI, you see death and that’s the end. You never see their life, or the impact of their life. I had never had a family member die before. Maybe a great-grandma when I was like 2, but not anything that hit home in that way. After my Aunt Janet’s death, I got to see what an amazing person she really was. Because of her story, I believe that you truly do not know a person’s impact on you until they are gone.

On June 28, 2008, we got a phone call from my grandparents at about 8:30. My aunt had lost her battle with cancer; she was gone. You experience that rare moment in life where you experience that feeling of numbness when you expect pain. It didn’t hit me for a little while, until that numbness broke down. Then I began to realize how much of an inspiration my Aunt Janet was. The whole time she was sick, she never let it get her down. First of all, she kept working. She was a nurse at the local hospital. So instead of focusing on herself all the time, she helped others get better. The first time I saw her after I knew she had cancer, honestly, I couldn’t tell. She was just as fun and full of life as always. In every picture you saw of her, she was smiling. That was my favorite thing about her, her never-ending smile.

My Aunt Janet has been an inspiration in my life. She has inspired me to be more selfless and not get down about the small stuff. She also has inspired me to carry her smile with me. I try to smile at everyone I see and pass it on. A smile can brighten anyone’s day; you never know what kind of day someone is having. After she died, I finalized my decision to become a nurse. I have an enormous passion for others, and hope to help others just like she did. I would have learned these lessons eventually in life, but her example helped me out. Her death helped show others the life of an inspirational person. She has made a large impact on my life, and this shows that everyone leaves footprints on your heart.