Always There

Matthew - Pacific Grove, California
Entered on April 24, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
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I believe in family. I believe in being there for those who you love when they need you. Being raised in a strong family, I have always had the support and love of my family when I needed it. At moments we had our differences, but we never let them keep us apart. My dad is my voice of reason, my mom is my number one fan, my sister is my conscience and my brothers are my best friends. No matter what the circumstance, I know I can count on my family.

I was eight years old and in the third grade. After going to the doctor, my mom tells me that I need to have surgery to get my tonsils removed. I was young and very scared. I remember my family being there to support me, but the one person who especially stands out is my grandmother. I never knew one person could make such a difference. She took the train down to be with me while I was recovering before I could go back to school. We would spend the whole day together, playing crazy-eights and baking bread. She made the best bread. The end of the week came too quickly. My throat was healed and my grandmother had been with me the entire time. Rather than telling me to “get better” and that “she loved me”, she decided to show me.

Lately, my grandmother’s health has been declining. After living by herself for 19 years, my family finally moved her into a convalescent home in my town. I was able to spend a few months with her before I had to leave for college. I was still able to see her every time I came home, but with every visit she was gradually getting weaker and slipping away. I feared that every “goodbye” that passed from my lips to her could be my very last. Thanksgiving came, then Christmas, and still Grandma was sitting there, wearing an enormous smile for us all to admire. Then I had Spring Break. I came home for Spring Break, ate dinner with her the night before I left and, unbeknownst to myself, said my final goodbye.

Three weeks later I got a call from my dad telling me that she had passed. After hearing the news, all I could see were two distinct images. One of her sitting with me at the kitchen table, cards in hand, smiling while cutting me a slice of her mouthwatering homemade bread. She was strong and had many things she could be doing, yet chose to be with me. The other was of her at her last Christmas. As she sat there on the couch, she was partially lost in all the excitement of the day and the fast-action of opening presents. Still, she sat with a cup of coffee in hand wearing a robe and a proud smile. She sat with a smile because she was happy. Not because of any presents, she never cared too much about material objects; she smiled because she was with her family. My grandma showed me love and asked nothing in return. She was there to hold my hand and to lift my spirits. I believe that everyone should be lucky enough to have a grandmother and family as wonderful as I do. My grandmother made me believe in family; my grandmother illustrated the importance of family; and my grandmother is a constant reminder of what family means to me.