This I Believe

Kerinan - Westerville, Ohio
Entered on November 11, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
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“The Best Fam Damily Around”

As the glasses were passed around and the champagne bottles popped open, I stared at the sleek mahogany coffin, covered in beautiful flowers, as it sat still ready to be lowered into the cold, dark ground. Family and friends surrounded the tent, and my cousin led us all in singing “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.” The tears were flowing, because I knew my Grandma Jojo was looking down from heaven, watching her family and friends celebrate the long life and good memories that we had all shared together.

I have learned that friends and family have shaped me into the person that I am and they have shaped my life into the fun and exciting adventure that it should be.

In my life, I have been blessed with a large Irish family. We share many memories of birthdays, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas and Thanksgivings, where the whole family is crammed around the same table, passing the bowl of mashed potatoes and flicking peas at each other from across the room. These are some of my favorite traditions but just like an ordinary family, we share times of sorrow as well.

One of my favorite traditions is our Sunday night dinners. Every Sunday, my family goes over to my Grandpa’s house for dinner. Right now, there are about twenty-five of us each weekend for dinner. This is important in my life because it keeps my family close, and it keeps our family alive and real! I love walking into the house, hugging my grandpa and getting a kiss and then a second on the forehead. I love all the wise cracks, the gossip, and the screaming and chasing of my little cousins. All of these simple, yet priceless memories are the things that I carry with me through the week, and they are the same memories that carry my family through our times of sadness.

I believe that memories we share with others, shape us into the kind of person we have become or will become. For me, the unexpected death of my Grandma was an experience where I saw my family come together. We all felt we had to take over for that piece of our family that had passed on. My Grandpa says, “I may have lost a wife, but I have gained four Mothers and eight more Mothers in training.” We all just want to make my Grandpa happy, and I believe that we do this by keeping my Grandma’s memory alive within each of us.

Even though loved ones leave us for a better place, they leave traces of themselves within us. And it is our job to embrace their memory and carry on the tasks that they have left unfinished. My task is to help raise my sisters and cousins, and to remind them of how their Grandma was the best Grandma ever! I believe memories of family and friends last a lifetime.