Learning to Make the Most of Time Spent Here

Michael - Eagle, Idaho
Entered on April 1, 2009

I believe I am extremely blessed. I am growing up in an upper class neighborhood, I have food on my plate every night and I have a family who I love and who loves me. I get a lot of privileges and I have many freedoms. Most people don’t have it as good as I do and I count my blessings every day.

My father was a boy who did not have it as good as a lot of people. His father moved out of the house before my dad even saw the hospital and he left my grandma to raise my father by her self. My grandma was the only parent my father ever knew. He grew up moving from apartment to apartment and from city to city; spending his early years in Puerto Rico and his teenage years in Las Vegas.

My grandma made sure that she gave all that she could to my dad and she would never be worried about herself. She worked all day and sometimes even late into the nights so that she could bring money home for my dad. It was all about making sure her son could get the best education, making sure he could have food on his plate, making sure he was always happy and most importantly making sure that my dad knew she loved him.

In 1981, my grandma and 13-year-old father moved to the hot desert city of Las Vegas from the beautiful beaches of Puerto Rico. The move had come so suddenly that my father was able to say goodbye to only a few of his closest friends but his mother knew that it was the right thing to do. Moving away from life-long friends and family, it was a very tough move for my grandma but she somehow knew that it was the best thing that she could do to raise her son the right way.

The first thing that she wanted to do was to find an organization that my dad could learn good values from and find new friends. Within only a few months of the move she was introduced to a church that would forever change her life, my fathers life, and even my life. It was just what she was looking for. The church had youth groups and several other interactive programs that helped my dad get through his teenage years. Here my dad was introduced to a good living standard and to many life long friends.

From the lessons that my grandmother was able to instill into my father he was able to get through his high school career and onto college with a scholarship. This was the ultimate reward for her. She now knew that her son would be able to get a top-of-the-line education and would be able to go on and raise a family for himself.

Once my father got through college and began his first year of law school, the tables turned for the worst for my dear grandma. She suffered from a severe stroke, was diagnosed with kidney failure and she was put on dialysis for the remainder of her life. It was now my fathers turn to repay his mother for her years of dedication to him. He visited her frequently and made sure that she always had enough money to provide for herself.

She was able to live by herself for years but in 1995 she had to move with our family. By this time, my dad had become a very successful lawyer and was raising 2 healthy happy kids, including myself, with 3 more to come. For the final 10 years of her life she lived with us off and on so that my mother and father could help take care of her. Those 10 years have some of the fondest memories of my life and more importantly my father’s life. He was able to bond with her more than ever before and they were able to spend a lot of time together.

My grandma literally had nothing but she still found ways to give us kids little goodies and little toys to play with. She was always thinking of us. I can still remember her smile. She seemed to be the happiest when she was helping others and I will never forget that.

Her death on September 30, 2005 came as no surprise but it still was the saddest day of my life. It was the hardest on my dad and I could hardly look at him because I would cry. But she left behind far more than just a pool of tears. She taught me some of the greatest lessons of my life. Because of her I have a firm belief in looking out for others before myself, giving everything that I have to those in need, to love my family, and to trust in God. This I believe.