This I Believe

Kaleigh - Pearl River, New York
Entered on April 7, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death, family, legacy

My Pop-Pop always told me to reach for the stars that nothing is as far as they may seem. Believing in yourself is the best thing that you can do to make your dreams come true. This is what my Pop-Pop believed, and this is what he taught my family to believe. He taught us, at a young age, that strength isn’t all that it is in movies. My Pop-Pop would tell me I was his little Hercules, not for lifting an enormous boulder over my head, yet because my strength came from my heart. My belief of inner strength grew even stronger when my Pop-Pop was diagnosed with cancer.

I was at my best friend’s 10th birthday party, and we were all sleeping over. I knew we were all having so much fun because not one of us could stop smiling for more then a couple seconds. We finally all fell asleep around 3 o’clock in the morning. Around 9 o’clock the next day my mom came over to get me in a huge rush. I had no idea what was going on. She came over to me and said we had to go right away. We rushed over to my grandparent’s house with me still not knowing what was going on. I swear it was the longest 10 minutes of my life. All I could do was sit in the car with my furry pajamas and wish I was somewhere else. That’s when it hit me.

The strongest person I ever knew was just lying there helplessly. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t talk, but he didn’t need to. The more I sat there and stared at him I saw my grandpa’s eye’s fill with fear. At that time I knew it was my turn, he was passing his strength on to me, yet not with his exercise equipment but with his heart. I could feel my heart and soul building with strength. Even though I knew I was scared and didn’t want to live to see the next day I knew it was my turn. I knew I needed to be strong for my family. Yet, I was only 10 and it wasn’t easy.

Over a course of a year my Pop-Pop was in and out of the hospital. My family was going through their very own depression. Even when my Pop-Pop was lying there with fear in his eyes he never once told us he was scared. He may have been hiding it inside but he was showing us his strength would triumph over any fear. Even to the day he past I, not once, saw my Pop-Pop cry. Even with him knowing things weren’t going so well he always took the time to look me in the eyes and say, “nothing can stand in your way of doing what you want to do.”; He knew that our lives had to go on; He knew that he wasn’t going to live forever, but the life he did live was more then anyone could ever ask for.

I used to wish everyday my Pop-Pop was sitting right beside me, but now I know he never left. His legend will live in me forever, including what he believes most. What was once was his but now is mine, I believe you are only as strong as your heart desires.