This I Believe

Jonathan - Byron, Illinois
Entered on November 22, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family
  • 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.

The person who most shaped my life, I never met. My Mom’s Mom, who sent her back to my Dad before I was born. Yes, I can honestly say my Mom left my Dad before I was born. But this is what I have come to believe, it’s how you finish that counts. Mom and Dad finished well. I mean if you could somehow be in a coma and still tell the world that you loved the woman next to you now more than you ever did when you died, that is amazing. That’s what he did, but he used technology. There was a video playing of their 40th wedding anniversary, he died at the moment on the tape when his words were “ I love you now more than ever”. And that’s how it ended. A great finish to a great love story. She died five days later of a broken heart. Officially it was cancer for both of them, but in reality, it was neither one could live without the other.

That was the end of their story, but I write this because of my Grandma. My Mom had good reason to leave him. Four small children, one being severely retarded, and an absent Father. I think Dad did not take having a severely retarded son well. It was before it became a popular thing. Eventually he would come around , but with the business starting, there was a lot of work to do, a lot of hours needed. Money didn’t help. I heard a story once where Mom broke a bottle of milk (20 cents) and cried. Yea, I know, don’t cry over spilled milk, but try telling that to someone who can’t afford to buy more with young kids at home, no help, etc. Things got better, they stuck together.

I was 23, almost 24, and it was almost 23 years ago when their story ended. I guess I am at some kind of median in my life. Although, I have spent a good deal of the waking hours of the last 23 years thinking about things. So although my Grandma, who I never met, had the most impact on my life, my Father, was the most influential, not so much in his words, but in his actions. When I think of commitment, I have living real examples to draw from of how things are supposed to be, or at least how they are supposed to end. It’s not how you start the race, or even where you are at in the middle, it’s how you finish that counts.