This I Believe

Andrew - St. Louis, Missouri
Entered on August 26, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death, family, legacy

Earlier today, a woman who has touched my life deeply passed away. She was in the latter part of 92, and she was my great grandmother. She lived a long life and saw many wonderful things. And even looking back on it, I remember her telling me stories about being alive when the first match was invented, or the fact that she lived through the entirety of both World Wars, and as I studied history, I even realized that she was able to see the rise and fall of nations. And the fact that she was an eyewitness to the events that shaped our world to what it is today is simply remarkable; and to be able to view all of that, is truly a gift from God.

And while I believe that gift was amazing, it simply does not compare to what she offered her family and friends. She was a woman filled with compassion and love, and showed it every moment of her life. She was mother to three, grandmother to seven, and great-grandmother to thirteen – she was the matriarch of our family. She bestowed in us from day one, the morals and dignity in which live in us now. She taught us that life is a gift from God, and to enjoy every moment. She guided on this journey with a watchful, knowledgeable eye. She learnt from her mistakes and showed us how not to make the same. She was an amazing woman.

And while I sit here now, taking in the death of a loved one, I begin to wonder – when I pass, will I have touched as many lives as she? Or, will I have been able to give my knowledge and help to all those in need? And more than anything, will I be able to show the love and compassion now, as she did then. Pondering on death, I realize that life and death, heaven and hell are merely destinations. They are where we are, where will be, and where we might end up. And contemplating more, I realize our society is wrong. We value and emphasize the beginning and end, and by doing so we lose sight of everything in between. As humans, we are infinitesimally small, and only here for a short while – and because of its scarcity we hold onto that with everything. And while we are raised to value that, I have learned otherwise from my great-grandmother. She has taught me, through her death, that life is so much more than destination A to B. She has taught me that life while short, is abundant; and it offers, with magnitude, the greatest gift of all. Life offers love; and experiencing love, gives us life. Our love allows us to experience those closest to us, and gives us the ultimate opportunity to connect. And when we die, and our body is no longer, that connection will manifest itself forever in our loved ones. Our soul will forever be on this earth, through the connections we make now. Our soul will live on, by the love we share. My great-grandmother will never die, for she will always live in me.