This I Believe

Meredith - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on September 22, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem
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When I was younger you could say I took pretty much everything for granted. I never realized how precious the gift of life was. As a human being, it’s easy to not appreciate life itself. Many people live each day as if it were just another day gone on our time clock.

If there was one person I knew that lived everyday to its full extent, it was my grandfather. He was an old man, but don’t get me wrong, he was very young at heart. He was your typical “lovable guy”. He could be found singing, dancing or doing something crazy in any place. When I would go over to his house, it was an escape from my good ol’ boring life. He would take a day of sitting around doing nothing, and turn it into something extremely exciting, even if it was just a trip to the gas station to buy his chewing tobacco. He never bored me with “when-I-was-your-age” stories, but told me about exciting things that had happened in his life. It amazed me how he was so happy and content with his life. He used to tell me “I’m not gonna be some old man sittin’ around waitin’ to die. I’m gonna take every second I got left and do somethin’ with it”

At the end of my seventh grade year, I found out that my grandfather was diagnosed with lung caner. When my mom told me, I was devastated. I didn’t want my grandfather to suffer. As a couple months went by, he started looking worse and worse. The one image that is stuck in my mind of him is his smile. Despite the fact that he was dying in the hospital for months, my grandfather kept that smile on his face. That smile brought hope to any situation. He was the strongest man I knew.

After a couple of months, the man who had loved life more than anything had it ripped out of his hands by a deadly disease. He made the best out of life until his last breath.

A couple of days after the death I was in my room reminiscing over pictures of my grandfather. Then I remembered what he had told me. He never wanted a day to pass without making it worth something. Through staying strong and positive through his final days on earth, he showed me that life is a precious thing that will involve the best and worst of times. Any moment that passes by whether big or small should not be taken granted for. Every minute of every day should be appreciated because the next day could be your last. He became my inspiration and motivation to open up my eyes to everything around me. Life is a gift, and there’s no time to waste it. Because of him, I believe: life is something to appreciate.