This I Believe

Grace - Durham, North Carolina
Entered on December 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: love

“Actions speak louder than words.” This is a common English saying that means we can truly know whom someone is based merely on their actions not solely on their words. I believe that the littlest gestures of kindness can sometimes be more meaningful then any amount of imaginative words.

Watching my Grandmother deal with Parkinson’s disease was one of the most difficult things for my family and I to witness. Parkinson’s disease is a mean disorder of the central nervous system that impairs one’s voluntary movements, speech, and other functions.

It was four years a go when my grandmother’s mind began to slowly die. I was thirteen at the time and I knew my grandmother as a well respected doctor, who was a

graduate from Duke University, and a very articulate, humble woman. She contributed greatly in the field of Hemophilia during her time and had a love for learning and caring. As time progressed my family and I had to uneasily watch this disease kill my grandmother, and change entirely who she was.

A couple years a go she lost all ways of articulating her thoughts through words. No one could tell what my grandmother was thinking and how much she wanted to express her ideas, but as I spent time with her I witnessed other ways of her communicating her love.

Every Sunday I would go and visit my grandmother at her nursing home in Pittsboro NC. At times I would sit there with her, reading to her, or talking to her about my week, knowing full well she would have no recollection of what I said next time I visited her. If she had enough strength, some days she would often pat my youthful hand with her feeble one. This was her way of telling me that she loved me.

I learned a lot by spending time with her during these four years of her fight for life. She was suffering quietly and gracefully. I found it beautiful that even with out her use of words her face showed love. I began to know my real grandmother during this time, a woman full of love.

In August, two days before my grandmother passed away I went to visit her. This was at the most severe stage of her disease, and she could hardly move and seemed as if she was unaware of her surroundings. I brought her, her favorite pudding and as I was feeding it to her she looked up at me and smiled. She was telling me goodbye.

I believe that we can express love with our actions and that the little gestures can speak volumes.