This I Believe

Kristyn - Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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My grandfather has always said, “Each day is a gift; that is why it’s called the present.” Too often, people take each day that they live for granted; we are so fortunate to be healthy and have wonderful family and friends in our lives. I believe some people need to have more love in their lives in order for them to realize how lucky they are; love helps us appreciate what we have been blessed with each day. I love my caring parents, my energetic younger siblings, my grandparents who teach me so many lessons about life, my boyfriend, my best friends, Happy Valley, the Philadelphia Flyers, shopping, sunny days, and music. Each day, these things make me smile and realize that I have so much to be thankful for. I believe that we need to realize how lucky we are, and we need to realize how much love we have in our lives.

This past year, my grandfather, who had always been such an energetic and active man, has developed mitral valve disease. This disease has caused the mitral valve in his heart to function incorrectly, so his heart has not been pumping blood properly throughout his body. His way of life has totally changed; instead of golfing, feeding ducks at the local park, throwing a Frisbee with his grandchildren, or going for a walk to enjoy the outdoors, he cannot do much more than sit on the sofa or lay in bed without losing his breath. He is in and out of the hospital for visits and check-ups weekly and will be going through his fourth surgery of the year at the end of April.

Most people experiencing these health conditions would be depressed and gloomy, but not my Pap-Pap. I call him to check on him weekly and I’m always greeted with a cheery hello and one of his famous knock knock jokes. He refuses to not stay positive and happy; I have learned how to appreciate life through watching him show his love to those who are dear to him. If someone with a disease that could cost him his life can remain happy and positive day after day, then there’s no reason for me to be sad, ever. His positive attitude has been contagious and has rubbed off on me. I can only hope that everyone else has an optimistic person like my Pap-Pap in their lives.

I believe that in order for people to appreciate life, they need to reflect on all of the things they love, from family to friends to sports to movies and so on. By realizing what all of these things mean to them, people will become more positive. Life is a gift, and we should appreciate each day that we get to spend in this wonderful world.