This I Believe

Allison - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I Believe in Dependence…

Independence is a choice. People tend to choose independence to protect themselves from the hurt others might inflict. Really though, among family and friends, people help more than they hurt. I believe in the more rewarding choice; the choice to be dependent.

My father has always been secluded when it comes to emotion. Coming from a family of five older sisters, he never had anyone to turn to with his problems. Right after graduating from high school, my dad was accepted into the Air Force Academy, where emotion is seen as a weakness. His best friend, Tim, who went through it all with my dad, committed suicide a few years ago. If that wasn’t enough for my dad to accept, the death of his father followed shortly after.

Unlike my dad, I was born as my parent’s first child and only daughter. They loved and cherished me in my childhood, and I grew up surrounded by love. In school, I added close friends to my circle of confidants, and soon I had two families: the one I was given and the one I chose.

I have never turned my back on my emotions, but I have also never been the type that weeps uncontrollably at a sad movie or giggles hysterically over a new crush. So when we heard that my grandmother was in failing condition, I didn’t let myself worry. It would be like all the other times: my dad would fly out to see her, her condition would improve, and everything would be fine. But this wasn’t like the other times.

My dad sunk into himself. While I took comfort in family and friends, he turned to no one for help. Maybe he thought he could handle his emotions on his own, but anyone who has dealt with the death of a parent knows that it isn’t something you can survive by yourself. My dad needed someone, but he was so used to being independent that he didn’t seem to realize that he had a whole family to support him. I hated seeing him like that.

About a week after the funeral, I came home to my dad crying over old pictures of his mother. I didn’t know how to react. My strong, confidant dad was crying. My first reaction was to flee the scene. However, I joined my dad on the couch, and as we sat there, looking over the beautiful, young woman in the pictures, we came to terms with everything. I will never know what my dad was thinking then, but I’d like to think that it helped him accept her death.

Dependence isn’t a choice. We all need someone to confide in and share our tears with, whether it’s our mother, brother, daughter, or friend. We wouldn’t be humans without our weak moments. I believe that our dependence on one another in those weak moments helps us survive.