This I Believe

Laura - Hollywood, Florida
Entered on March 15, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Ten years ago, my Grandparents moved from New York to Florida, so they could spend more time with my family and me. Previously, I would visit them several times a year, and would celebrate practically every holiday with them. Unfortunately, very recently my Grandmother passed away.

My Grandmother was always full of life and personality. Every time I would come to visit her, she would react as if she hasn’t seen me in months. Her nickname was GG for gorgeous grandmother, because not only was she beautiful on the outside, she was on the inside, too, and she would not be referred to as anything else. She always put others before her, cared for everyone and never wanted to be a burden.

She went through many struggles during her 80 years of life. At 50 she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and soon after, her hip shattered. She was confined to a wheel chair for the rest of her life. But that did not stop her from continuing her party. She was an optimist and a role model to everyone, especially me.

The past few years, she had been in and out of hospitals. Right after this New Year, she was back in the hospital, but this time was longer. She went through many surgeries, and eventually, after two months in the hospital with all the hardships, she passed on.

After Crew practice, I got dropped off at my house and immediately, something did not feel right. I walked into my usually busy house to complete silence. I walked into the kitchen where my family was sitting down and quiet. My father got up and took me outside the kitchen where he broke the news to me. My mother’s mother was gone. It was such a surreal feeling, and did not feel real.

The next day my family and I flew to New York, where my GG was originally born. It was slightly snowing and it was a picturesque sight, something she loved and would tell me about. It was my first funeral and it was beautiful, just like her.

After the funeral, it is tradition in my religion for people to wash their hands. It is a symbolical way to indicate that the people are purifying themselves from the experience of death. I feel it is a way to “wash” the mourning away and to focus on all the memorable experiences and the wonderful aspects of the person. This is why I believe in washing hands after leaving a cemetery. It was a way for me to transfer from all of my upset emotions to a stable state of mind, where I could remember all the good my GG did for me, and taught me, and I realized that I will miss her dearly, and that no one will be able to replace my role model, my grandma, my GG.