This I Believe

Amanda - Maple City, Michigan
Entered on May 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that death can bring a family closer together.

When I was 16 years old, my uncle was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor. Within two days he went from having a one percent chance to live, to having a fifty percent chance, to possibly being cured. One week after he was diagnosed, he fell into a coma and was then on life support for a short amount of time. Within eight days total, my uncle, a loving father, and an older brother to my father, had passed away before there was time for me to even grasp the thought of him being ill.

A week before my uncle passed away, my three older siblings had managed to make it home. I remember it being a Saturday afternoon in late April. There was a cold breeze in the air that automatically sent chills up the spines of my family members. It was a day that my older siblings, my parents and I were finally together. We decided to take a ride to see my uncle who was at home on one of his better days. I remember walking into the house looking into faces of pale skinned, red-eyed cousins, selfishly reaching for a hand that would comfort me. I felt like a stone; there, but not noticed until I made a noise. There was a silence that wouldn’t go away no matter how much conversation was in the room. My uncle sat clueless in his big blue recliner, clicking through the T. V channels, watching episodes that were for children and nonchalantly flipping to an adult channel.

He looked so aged, wearing his “oldies” glasses as I refer to them, his whitened hair freely falling into place. Because his prescription lenses were so strong, when his eyes looked up to greet my family, they popped right out. It was as if he were a cartoon drawing of a fly with bursting eyes. They were magnified, making my heart pound harder. After some small talk with my uncle and more silence, we decided it was an appropriate time to leave. After saying our good-byes, our ten minute car ride home seemed to take forever.

As we pulled into our driveway, a tear rolled down my father’s face. Time stopped. At that exact same moment, my sister and I had a connection that hadn’t happened up until that point. Before a tear became evident in my eyes, she quickly pulled my body and held me close. That was all that I needed to realize that she really did care about me, no matter what the distance.

Unfortunately, it was a situation like this, that made my family realize we are just that: a family. We have to continue to stay close no matter how big the distance, how much we disagree with each other, or how busy we are. Through this situation, my family and I are closer than we have ever been before. It was death that made me believe.