The strength of a Grandmother

Brittany - Soldotna, Alaska
Entered on April 26, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, illness, love
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in the strength of a grandmother. My grandmother, or as the family calls her, Mimi, one of the most gentle people there is, wasn’t feeling well one day. She had my grandfather, Papa, take her to the emergency room. She was complaining of stomach pains. To everyone’s surprise, she was diagnosed with pancreatitis.

No one expected it to be as bad as it was. She spent over one hundred days in the hospital. She was moved from hospital to hospital, from one Intensive Care to another. While all this was happening, I was stuck in Alaska unable to see her. Daddy would call three or four times a week to tell me how she was doing, but I felt useless.

I finally got to visit my family during that Winter Break. She was up and awake. When I got off the plane, the first thing I asked was “Can we go see Mimi now?” To my relief, that’s what Daddy had already planned to do. I walked in the room by myself, at first, to surprise her. When I walked in, she was doing her favorite thing, watching baseball. I called her name. She looked up and smiled bigger than I had seen her smile before. She wasn’t expecting me. We started talking. Then Daddy and Christina, my little sister, walked in. Even with the oxygen tubes, and taking the medications the nurse brought in, she was smiling and enjoying herself. I had never seen a happier person.

Every time I saw her over those two and a half weeks, she was smiling and in a good mood. She wasn’t letting anything bring her spirits down, even if some of us didn’t always have the same mindset as her. No matter how my day had been, after walking into that hospital room, I came walking out smiling. Just being around her made me smile. Thinking about how I was letting the fact that maybe I didn’t talk to a friend or get a text back right away was putting me in a bad mood, then walking into the hospital room Mimi was in and she was smiling, even with her being sick like she was, put a smile on my face. I couldn’t let something that silly put me in a bad mood while Mimi was in the hospital and was in a good mood.

Mimi is back at home now. She works with a physical therapist a few days a week. She has to learn everything over again; walking, standing, getting in and out of bed. She always says that it was everyone’s love and prayers that kept her alive, and still insists on that today. But I know better; Mimi is a fighter. It was her strength to go on. This I believe.