Friday, August 28, 2009

A Daughter's Perspective - Life Update

This morning, my daughter emailed me the text of an essay she had written as a class assignment. She didn't mention the specific instructions for the essay, but I concluded it must have focused on struggles in the student's life in some way.

I like to believe that I've always had a close and open relationship with my child. To say that I consider her very intelligent and insightful is not just a parental boast, I've consider the issue very objectively over the years (that is, with as much objectivity as a parent is capable of incorporating into such deliberations). Yet, I have been truly moved by her essay. She presents a side of herself that I honestly did not think she was mature enough to have, much less embrace.

While I would candidly offer that she could give a second draft of the essay expanding on a couple of things that I know she is hinting at but not clearly stating, I am honestly astounded at her reflection. I present it below with one spelling error corrected and the poetry at the end formated in verse form (she had formatted it as prose at the end of a paragraph -- I can't help myself, old teaching habits!) .

To anyone suffering grief, I hope it proves as inspiring as I have found it to be.

English 4
19 August 2009

In My Life, I’ve Loved Them All

“In my life, I’ve loved them all,” were a few words from the Beatles’ song “In My Life”. In my life, there have been many hardships that I’ve gone through. People very close to me have died of diseases which had no cures. These two people and events have helped me become the person I am today: my grandfather and Alzheimer’s disease, and my mother and Brain Cancer.

My grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease which he lived with for a few years. During the summer, I would help my grandmother by staying home and keeping my grandpa calm and making him lunch or taking my grandma to the store. There were times when my grandfather would get into extremely bad moods and he would get violent. He would curse at some of the people in the house and he almost hit my mom. Luckily, she was able to calm him down and he would be quiet for a time and fall asleep. Honestly, it drove me crazy, but in the end it taught me to be patient with people because sometimes they don’t know what they are doing. It also taught me self-control. Every now and then, he would shout at me for not letting him outside because my parents told me not to let him. I had to control myself not to shout back, but to ask him calmly to go back into the living room and sit down. He died in 2007.

The second hardship I’ve had to overcome was when my mother was diagnosed with Brain Cancer in 2008. When my father told me, I was in tears. When I looked over at her I saw that she had an optimistic look on her face. It shocked me. How could she be so happy when she had a level four brain tumor? It baffled me, but a little while later, I realized that she was scared but she was just happy to be alive at that moment. At first, she seemed to act normally. Well, at least after the emergency surgery she had only a day or so after discovering the disease. My mother would walk and talk like she always did. But then her one tumor turned into four, then 5 or 6. She had another surgery, and then was taken home for her final days. During this time, I learned that life is the shortest thing we have. A person has to learn that life is so important that it should not be wasted. She lived with the disease for eight months, only eight short months. I learned how hard it is to take care of another person, because that is what I had to do for a while. I do not know how people with seven children do it. My mother taught me, through her disease, to look for the goodness in other people and to look at the silver lining instead of the dark cloud.

I have learned a lot through these hardships. By looking for the good things in life, my attitude has gone from unhappiness to joy. I love going to school now because of all of the new possible events that can make my day and life better. I used to try to make someone happy every now and again, but now I try to make my friends laugh more and I try to teach them that life can be very rewarding when looked at in an optimistic point of view. My grandfather and my mother were good people with good morals. They taught me how to behave, right from wrong and so many other lessons in life.

A quote once again from the Beatles’ song “In My Life”:

“And these memories lose their meaning,
when I think of love as something new,
though I know I’ll never lose affection,
for people and things that went before,
I know I’ll often stop and think about them,
in my life I love you more.”

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