How Does your family & community history connect to your American creed?
My whole life I have heard people stress the importance of cherishing your loved one due to the fact that life can be incredibly unpredictable. I, however, being a presumptuous, naive child, believed I had all the time in the world, which meant all of the people around me did as well. This idea unknowingly caused me to take the people who I love most, for granted.
There was a time that I would’ve given anything to live near my Grandparents, but not like this. A year ago, things took a nosedive. I found out that my Grandmother, a woman who I’ve always regarded as my best friend, was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and an infection of her digestive tract. Which meant only one thing in my mind; There was a chance I would never see my best friend again. I found out as we were driving back home to Michigan, when my mother absentmindedly asked me to respond to what my aunt was texting her. In an attempt to gain context clues, I scrolled up a few messages. I stopped at a text where my aunt was talking to my mother about all of us moving back to Alabama to be with my Grandmother during her chemo, and I just looked at my mom. I chuckled, saying, “I knew it. You wouldn’t just cry over an infection, and Papa wouldn’t just decide to start being nice...” It was something out of a movie, I had questioned my grandmother earlier that week, saying these exact words, “Personally, I don’t believe a word either of you have said. Be honest with me, do you have cancer?” Of course, she said no, to which I responded, “I don’t believe you, but I trust you.” I was beyond hurt to find this out, but I was more hurt to find that my Grandmother, whom I regarded as a sacred friend, kept a secret this large from me. One that could’ve reaped extravagant ramifications had something gone wrong. However, I understood that she was just trying to protect me, and that she didn’t want the weight of the world on my shoulders while I was on vacation from school. Because I wasn’t supposed to know, I had to figure out how to cherish my grandmother even more than I already did, without making it painfully obvious that I was aware of what was really happening.
This situation inspired me to do several things. I began to text her every night, to see if she was okay and let her know that I loved her before she went to sleep, and I went on a mission to do everything in my power to help her get better. I prayed every night, I thanked God for her, I sold cookies until she finally told me she had cancer, then gave her the money to help her with her bills, and I began to keep in contact with more of my family members, just to make sure they were doing okay, because this moment showed me how truly vulnerable human life is. This tragic and humbling experience, is how I figured out what my creed was; Time is what you make of it, we can’t go back and change the past, no matter how much it hurts, but we hold the future. It is our job, to let all of those around us who we love, know and feel the love we have for them.