The Importance of Family

George - Youngstown, Ohio
Entered on October 22, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family
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Life is bumpy road that has many twists, turns, and complications. There are times in my life when I feel I am about to lose direction. One important way many relieve this situation is to confide in God. I too confide in God, but I also trust in the one most important thing in my worldly life. This valuable thing is family. I believe that, next to God, family is the most important circumstance in living a happy and fulfilling life.

Importance of family is one of my core beliefs which I gained by the experience of loss. Edward Joseph Hart was a loving and caring man who I am proud to call my grandpa. Every Christmas he would love to see all his grandkids’ bright and shining faces. He loved to watch us tear the decorative wrapping off our presents and squeal with delight when we got just what we asked for. He liked to show me how to swing the plastic golf clubs he kept in his garage; and he chuckled when I would constantly miss the ball no matter how persistent I was.

All this soon changed, or really it was my grandpa who changed. At the age of 58, he began to act differently. He didn’t laugh as much and he sometimes became very forgetful. When he was 64 years old, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It all went downhill from there. He became more and more forgetful; and he sometimes resorted to violence. In September of 1999, he was placed in a nursing home for dementia. This is where the one big regret of my life happened.

At first I visited my grandpa once and awhile with my mom. I was young and saw nothing wrong. He was kind of the same and he still played putt putt with me. As visits progressed, he began to look sick because he lost the ability to eat. Then one day a routine visit turned into my biggest grief. As I walked up to the door and walked in, there was my grandpa. He looked like someone I had never met. He looked like a skeleton and as fear welled up within, I ran out the door. I never went back and on September 25, 2000, my grandpa passed on.

This is one event I will mourn for the rest of my life. In the time of my grandpa’s greatest need, I couldn’t stand to bear the sight of him. The fear consumed me and I never got to say goodbye. This is why family is now the one most important thing in my worldly life. Every minute I can spare, I dedicate to family. I spend nights at my grandma’s, take her out to lunch and mass, and spend time with her in general. I go on vacation with most of my family; and I try to be a role model for my younger brother and cousin. Even in my adult life I will still treasure family because family is ever present. Family gives me joy and helps me to feel loved. My advice to everyone is to keep family close because one day your dad, mom, aunt, uncle, or grandparents may not be there; and your memories may be all you have. This I believe.