This I Believe

Amy - Dawson, Illinois
Entered on February 13, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death
  • 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.

This I believe…

Life and Death

In order to live life to the fullest I believe one must experience death. I had not experienced death until the age of nineteen. I did not just experience one death but eight in less than six months. I had never really looked at my life for what it was worth until then. Through these experiences, I feel I have really been able to experience life. I had found an understanding for the meaning of my presence on Earth. I will use three encounters of death to show just how death has allowed me to experience my life to the fullest.

The first tragedy I experienced was of my great grandmother, who was ninety- two years of age. Her death in particular really allowed me to understand that dying is okay and is natural. Previous to her passing I had a fear of death and did not understand its importance. Her end was just the beginning of my life.

One month later, my next encounter with loss, was of my grandfather. He lived only two weeks after his diagnosis of cancer. His death was sudden at the age of sixty-two. For the first time I watched someone die. I saw the very life empty out of one soul. I stood frozen in time watching my grandfather take his last breath. I did not know how to react I remained motionless and watching all around me. I felt as though I was in an out of body experience. “This certainly couldn’t happen to me;” but in reality it was. I took his death very hard. I am still struggling with it to this day. However, from this I learned to celebrate life and to value time with those I hold close to my heart.

Then while working at a summer camp in Wisconsin for people with disabilities death came knocking once more. I had barely known this woman for a week’s time. She was eating a muffin and walking to sit down to wait for her medication. Her counselor and I noticed her coughing and then choking. We encouraged her to cough but it didn’t work. A glazed stare came over her face and everything just changed so fast. She went from blue in the face to being in full cardiac arrest. She was revived but only to die a few days later. From her life I gained a sense of the frailty of life and how every day we have is truly a gift. One moment you may be fine and the next you may be gone.

Through these loses I have been able to experience life to the fullest. I now appreciate every moment I have with family and friends. I try to take advantage of every opportunity life throws my way. I take nothing for granted and try to have little regrets as possible. My life is now my most sacred possession and is celebrated everyday.