This I Believe

Alicia - Smyrna, Tennessee
Entered on September 14, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death, family
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.


Death is the state of being dead. Nobody really wants to die. Some people feel death as a sigh of relief, but when my grandmother passed, there was no relief in any way. It was a nightmare. I felt like I was a character in a Stephen King horror movie.

My grandmother had always been a strong woman in my eyes. She had this I-can-do-it-myself-attitude. Any woman who can raise a child on her own and work several jobs to provide for her family is just that. She wasn’t your typical grandmother. My grandmother looked and even acted as if she were in her late forties. She was always working long hours into the morning or she was at home watching home-shopper’s network. But when she wasn’t doing either of those two things; she was talking on the phone.

It was always tradition for all my family to come over my house for the holidays, so the Christmas she didn’t show, we got worried. She was always there; she had never missed a family dinner! When we found that my grandmother was sick, we knew it was something serious. When we went and saw her, she didn’t look herself; we knew she was truly sick.

All of my family thought that she had a bad case of the flu, but the news we heard was not even close to that. The news was unbearable. The doctor diagnosed her with pancreatic cancer. It couldn’t be possible! My grandmother was one of the healthiest women I knew. She never got sick! She was the one who always took care of me when I was sick, so how could she be sick? I remember asking God why he was doing this? Why was he doing this to my family but better yet, why was he doing this to my grandmother?

The doctor gave my grandmother the option of taking chemotherapy or hoping for some kind of miracle to occur. She chose not to undergo treatments of chemo so all we could do was to wait and see what happened. Patiently we waited and prayed that God would bestow his healing hand upon her, but God had other plans in mind.

In early March of 2001, the doctors decided to move her into Alive Hospice. Alive Hospice provides hope and comfort for both the patient and his or her family. It was a very peaceful atmosphere. Knowing that she was in the hands of professionals made me feel a little more at ease because I knew she was getting the proper attention that she needed.

On the evening of March 28, 2001, I vividly remember what happened. I remember going and visiting my grandmother who by now was in a Como. I tried talking to let her to let her know I was there because my dad used to tell me that even through she wasn’t concious, she could still hear me. That night I prayed a prayer that I would never forget; I prayed that the Lord would take my grandmother on home.

Around 2 o’clock in the morning on March 29, my dad came and got me from where I was sleeping and told me that I needed to come say goodbye to my grandmother. I being young at the time didn’t put all of this together until I saw her take her last breath. The room felt cold; it felt as if there were angels in the room. This, in a way, was a sigh of relief. This let me know that she was in a better place and she would no longer suffer.

Some nights I would lie in bed thinking of how life could be different if only my grandmother had taken chemo. I think of how maybe my grandmother could still be living and how I could be writing this story on how I do believe in miracles. But I can’t. All I can do is appreciate the time I got to spend with her and think of all the good times we had together.

This experience taught me that your life’s not picture perfect like Full House. There are always going to be obstacles you’re going to have to overcome and my grandmother’s dying was one. Even though I didn’t get to tell my grandmother how I felt about her, I know she knew. I always used to think to my self, “I wish I could have told her how much I loved her and how I wanted to thank her for all she had done for me.” You should enjoy the people in your life while you can and every minute of everyday expressing how much you love them because you may never get that opportunity again.