As we entered my grandmother’s house one evening, usually greeted by a joyous “hello” from my grandmother, that evening we were greeted only by an Erie silence. As we cautiously proceeded to venture deeper into the abnormally quiet house, searching every room eagerly for my grandmother our innocent curiously was abruptly and violently shuttered by a horrifying shriek from my grandmother, as she fail to her knees gasping for air, clawing franticly at her chest, fighting to survive a merciless heart attack. Even though that moment occurred more than ten years ago still my mind is troubled by the terror of that day. None the less it was a moment that would forever change my life.
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As we slowly moved into the living room, a distressing sight met our eyes. Lying face down on a couch, my grandma lied red-faced and shaken. Suddenly, she was gulping for air. First, she grabbed a trash can, plunged her face into it and vomited with such violence that I was enveloped in a cold dark fear, feeling far to cruel for any child to face. Still at seven years old, I faced the terror of a heart attack in my house, and I experienced, for the first time, the reality that I could loose the person closest to me. After a while she looked at me from the corner of her eye as she raised her head from the trash can and forced out a feeble, “Hi,” only to vomit again while missing the trash can. My uncle looked at me in my watery eyes, put his hand on my back, and said, “Let your grandma rest; she has been fighting bold and tough.”
My grandma, the love of my life, was now fighting to survive, everyday of her life. After the doctors said that she only has few weeks to live. I began to worry, the thought of growing up without a grandmother began to press down on my shoulder and loneliness began to over take me. I always felt disassociated from my peers. In elementary and middle school I was quiet, shy, and lonesome. I dread all human affection so much that I could not even look in the eyes of people who spoke to me. All the kids in school called me a “bum,” and I became an easy target for bullying. Soon after the bullying and depression started my grades began to diminish, and as my grade diminished so did my confidence, but it also made me feel that I had disappointed my grandmother, who cared so much about academics when she was healthy. I was humbled with every report card I showed her, knowing that she is disappointed.
One day, I decided that I am going to change my life. Listening to other students’ stories of how well they do in school, I recalled my uncle’s words: “Let your grandma rest; she has been fighting bold and tough.” I then realized that the example of how to change my life had been ahead of me the entire time. My grandma had fought and struggled to survive her heart attack. By fighting it and surviving to live another day with her family, she had taught me in a clear way that I should never give up and that I could pass any barriers, so that I could create a better life for myself. I shaped my mind so that I would face the world “bold and tough,” and I would put off the tension, which had constrained my personality. I decided to shine as a student, and to improve my grades, and my talent with a moving passion. I decided to have no more delays, no more fear, and most importantly, I have decided that not to give up.
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More than any other turning point I have approached, I am proud of my success in knocking over my shyness. In ninth grade, I made the decision to join ESL, which would urge me to talk frequently with my classmates. I knew that my role as a student and class leader would teach me to speak confidently. My participation in this program worked and improved my character in a way I never thought possible. I now feel at ease among my peers. Last month I even hosted an event for the church, speaking comfortably in front of a large group. I am satisfied with the things I have changed in my life, and I owe the entire honor to my grandmother who has been by my side. Even as a bedridden heart patient, jolted by therapies, her example taught me to face challenges and to override them; no matter the nature of the challenge. Her struggle with heart attack became an example for me to improve myself. Even now, I continue to battle, swept with college exams. Despite the challenge, I continue unaffected, knowing that the best of my ability is my backbone to live bravely like my grandma and to overcome the challenges of life. I can never thank my grandma enough for what she has given me. My grandmother has become my role model. I hope that one day, many years from now she will say to me, “I am proud of you my grandson; you have been fighting bold and tough.”
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