Finding Strength in the Smallest Places

Danielle - Saint Louis, Missouri
Entered on December 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, respect
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When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength. ~Arnold Schwarzenegger

I believe that strength comes from the smallest of people. My grandma is just over 5 foot and very petite. When I stand next to her, I can use her head as an armrest. She’s been through it all: and after 6 children, a divorce, remarriage, and too many grandchildren to count: she’s still got some spunk. Her life hasn’t always been the easiest. She’s gotten by with what little she has and continues to be the motherly figure that we go to in our time of need. That’s who she is, and who she’ll always be. I’ve seen the strength of my father, it’s slightly amusing to see him lift up the Christmas tree every year with such agility and ease, but it’s nowhere close to the emotional strength of my grandma.

A couple of years ago, my aunt died. And while it sent the family into shock and sadness, my grandma kept everyone going when the world had somehow seemed to stop. With 5 children around for support, she could have easily weakened at nearly any moment. But she didn’t. She took the worst possible situation and kept fighting; something not even my father could do. She was there to provide a stable environment for us to break down in. When my family needed an encouraging word, a glimmer of hope, or even a decent meal, she never once hesitated to run in the kitchen and whip something up. As strong as we all thought we were, whether it be fighting in the war like my uncle, or sitting at home managing my stress and homework, we too, came nowhere close to the strength of my grandma.

An anonymous writer once wrote, “Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” I have to wonder if they knew my grandma. It’s not like this statement is profoundly stated or beautifully written, in fact it’s raw, it’s the truth, and it’s something we all seem to forget in our normal lives. She has taught me more than she could have possibly meant to in my short life. I’ve learned to fight even when I’m weak. No one knows what’s going to happen, and the only way to fail is if you stop fighting. My family’s reaction to my aunt’s death showed their weakness. Support seemed to be the glue keeping my family going; that is if you were watching from the outside. But, the strength of one person, my elfin grandmother, was the most powerful force I’ve even experienced. I believe in the existence of strength that’s found in the smallest of people.