This I Believe

Megan - St. Joseph, Missouri
Entered on September 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, family
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I Believe That Family Is My Backbone…

I wanted to start my essay out with a quote I found on the internet that relates almost perfectly to the story I’m about to tell you, so here it is, “We all knew it was coming…we were waiting, and preparing, but we didn’t know that you can’t prepare for these things they just happen and when they do it’s hard, it’s painful, it’s depressing. When your hero dies there’s not much more you can do but cry and hold onto the memories, turn to your family in this time of need because they need you just as much as you need them use this to grow stronger in courage, in thankfulness, and in love. Sometimes crying isn’t enough sometimes you just have to deal.”

About six or seven years ago my Uncle was diagnosed with stomach cancer. This had to be the most terrifying news I’d ever received, cancer was something you heard about on television or in movies…I never expected someone so close to me to have it. After an important surgery, lots of chemotherapy, and a year of remission the cancer got worse. The doctors told my family that “it looked like someone took a handful of sugar and threw it on the table.” That’s how bad the cancer had spread all over his body. Months went by and we all knew it was just a matter of time, to witness someone you love in so much pain and to know you can’t do anything about it. To watch the people in your family who you consider to be the strongest, break down and cry is incredible hard to deal with. Was I strong enough to get through all of this? I wasn’t sure; it definitely didn’t feel like I was.

Once his cancer had gotten bad enough they hospitalized him once again and told all of us it was just a matter of time, so we should say are goodbyes. And that’s exactly what I did; I went into his room tears running down my face and whispered “I love you.” My family and I spent weeks in the hospital which felt like months, just waiting. Then I finally decided to go back to school and after I got home my Father came into my room and told me that he received a phone call that morning telling him that he was gone, My Uncle had finally let go. Although I knew it was going to happen I was still in shock, I wasn’t ready for him to be gone completely. I knew the next few days weren’t going to be any easier and I was right they weren’t. I felt terrible for my Aunt and my cousin’s, I know how hard this was for me, but for them it had to be so much worse and there was nothing anyone could do or say to make the situation better.

I felt sad and confused for a long time after all of it was said and done, I hated talking about it, I hated to go see him at his burial site, I hated facing the reality of it all…I wasn’t strong enough. But, my family never stopped being there for each other. We were the only ones who knew what each other was going through. Without them I know it would have been million times harder. This was the first death in my family that I had witnessed and many of my friends don’t understand exactly why is was so hard for me, because he was my Uncle by marriage, but my Aunt and Uncle’s house was my second home. My cousin and I were extremely close so I would spend weeks there at a time…so whether he was my Uncle by marriage or blood we grew very close and he was a huge part of my family.

He passed away five years ago in November and I still find my self thinking about him, everything that happened, and how things might be if he were still here today. And I know even though my cousin and I aren’t as close as we used to be, I could call her anytime and she would be there for me, because we are family and that’s the strongest bond you can have with someone. My family helps me through everything, they make me who I am, and most of all they make me a stronger person. I believe that family is my backbone.