This I Believe

Meredith - Indian Head Park, Illinois
Entered on October 4, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family
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An Optimistic Way of Dealing with Hard Times

I believe in pushing through tough times with a positive attitude to the very end. In late 1993, my grandpa Jack was diagnosed with cancer. At the time I was just a mere two years old, so I didn’t really understand, but as I became older, it became more evident what he was dealing with and how he was dealing with it.

Most cancer victims wonder why they got cancer, what they did wrong in their life to deserve such a horrible fate. My grandpa never wondered why, he just accepted the fact that he had cancer. When he was diagnosed, he never allowed negative, pessimistic thoughts to permeate his brain. Instead, he decided to put his soldier boots on and go to war against his body. Through colon and other types of cancer, my grandpa struggled to stay alive and kept fighting for his life. No matter how much pain he was in, he still remained positive, leaving a permanent imprint on me for life: never to give way to negative thoughts and never to give in to anything. My grandpa, even after having cancer for several years, was able to thank God for being alive, no matter what impairments he had to deal with.

Sometimes I put myself down and think how unfortunate I am because possibly I have too much homework, or simply just had a bad day. Then I am able to remember what my grandpa would have thought if he was still alive. I know that he would be disappointed to see me down and low due to silly things when I still had so much to be thankful for. To the very end of his life, my grandpa never felt sorry for himself or thought himself unlucky. He felt that he had been given the greatest gift in the world: the gift of life.

I remember one of the last conversations I had with him. He told me that he was the luckiest man to ever live. He had a huge support group, consisting of family, friends, and God. God and Jesus were probably the two most important figures in my grandfather’s life. As he was very religious and went to church every Sunday, he made many friends through the church. He touched many lives that will still have his handprint on them forever.

Because I had the honor of knowing and spending a lot of time with my grandpa Jack, I know I am a different person than I would’ve been. Now, I am more positive, and I am able to push through hard times simply by thinking of him. I believe in pushing through tough times with a positive attitude, just like my grandpa fought cancer with a smile on his face and in his heart, until his positive views towards life could no longer save him.