My Life, My Idol

May 26, 2009
By Joe Cantieri BRONZE, Schaumburg, Illinois
Joe Cantieri BRONZE, Schaumburg, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

My Life, My Idol

An idol is someone that you like, enjoy and learn from. My idol in life was my grandfather. From the first breath I took on July 20th 1993 he was with me my whole life. On that day that I had been born, based on statistics for being a male, I had approximately 27,331 days, 23 hours 47 minutes and 13 seconds to live. I am expected to die at the age of 74. I knew at that time that I had to cherish every minute and second of my life and that I spend it like it was my last day I had on this giant ball we call Earth. From the moment I had been born my grandpa had taken me under his wing like a son. His name is Angelo Cantieri, a full blooded Italian man who always did well for other people no matter the race or gender. He would put others before himself and to think what he could do to make someone else happy. He never got mad at anyone even if they did something wrong, which made him a very forgiving person. He always had such a kind humble spirit that would light up the room when entered and would put a smile on anyone’s face. My grandpa was a very handsome man that never tried to make himself look good in front of others. Also, my grandpa would never say anything to hurt others or make them feel down. All these things that I have mentioned about my grandpa are the way I want to live my life. He has set such a great example and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I remember every time I would see him; he would always give me a little gift. He would give me a little rubber coin purse with a lot of coins in them. Every time I saw him he would give me another so I had something to play with and keep my money in. Every time he would smile or laugh it would put a smile on my face and I would think to myself how generous and loving he is and how I could live my life more like him? His name was Angelo, but I thought of him as an angel.

My grandpa influenced me so much to take life as a gift and be thankful for what you have. He would tell me stories about when he was a kid and how he grew up. He taught me to respect my parents and do anything and everything for them. The advice he said to me still gives me courage to succeed in what I do no matter how tough it may be. He was such a good man, that I had never heard a single profanity word come out of his mouth or say anything bad about anyone. This made him a very good role model to take after. My grandfather has touched so many hearts including mine. Angelo was such a good father figure to my aunts, uncles, and my father that now they are all very well off and very successful because my grandfather had taught them right and raised them well. He was not only a good father or grandfather, but he was also a very loyal friend. He would always help his friends, whenever they were in need, whether it was give them money or talking to them when they were in need. He was such a likeable man that there was nothing you could find to be mad at him about. He is my role model in life because he was a very big inspiration to me and I wish one day that I could be just as a good of a man as he was.

As I’m writing this I ask myself actually how has my grandpa changed or inspired my life. Since Angelo played many instruments, such as the piano, organ, violin, and the accordion, I wanted to take after him and play an instrument or two. I then began playing drums and guitar thinking that if I worked as hard as he did then I could be a great musician just like him. Another hobby of his was that he used to ski as a kid and adult, I also started to snowboard as a sport. We even have his very first wooden ski’s hanging up on our basement wall.

One of the most important and highly valued lesson that my grandpa had taught me was how not only should I respect my parents in every way but to give my heart to God and do everything I had to offer, which was going to church and following what the Bible had to say. Now, Religion is a very big part of my life and that I base everything off it. My parents helped me follow the lord but it was also my grandpa who was there at my baptism to really get involved with the lord and the Bible. He lived his life how Jesus would like to have us all live ours. It’s kind of like the meaning behind the Allegory of the Cave, because in that theory or poem Plato explains a man and people around him are chained inside a cave and can’t turn around and only seeing shadows projected on a wall from a light source they could not see. In the eyes of the people, this is the world as it was being projected in front of them. But what if that man were to be let out and see the world outside the “cave” and the true objects. How he could convince the others what he saw and if they would even believe him. This was a situation that took place between my grandpa and me. He told me what I could learn from the Bible and how differently I would think and look at life. Things used to seem like it had no meaning to it and simply just appeared black and white, but he opened my eyes and made me see color where things once seemed black and white by introducing me to the Bible and helping me build a stronger relationship with God.

One of the most important things that my grandfather has taught me was not to live life without a purpose, but to live it for a reason and a strong one at that. In other words, don’t let life pass by without meaning or relationships, live life a day at a time and cherish each day. On the day that my life flashed in front of me was the day I was given a second chance at life, a second chance to prove to God that I am worthy of him and that I am special in a different way than someone else. It was mid summer, a very nice day with the sun blazing down on the street. We were coming back from Motor Works, the car dealership and unfortunately we were stuck in traffic on Palatine Road just by the fire department. At the time, being a young disobeying kid, I was not wearing my seat belt and had nothing in front me to brace the impact, but the guy who was going 50 miles an hour had. He turned the corner on Ela road not paying any attention at all before the impact my mom saw a glimpse of the car about to hit us and I saw out of the corner of my eye my mom sticking out her hand restricting my brother from flying through our front windshield and within a split second the car rammed right into the back of ours. I jolted forward completely in shock and letting go of the orange soda that I had in my hand. The soda flew everywhere and at that time it seemed as if my life went into a blur and I saw it all coming to an end. My dad was in a separate car and did not make the light and witnessed this horrified tragedy. His heart dropped, panicking and thinking of the worst rushed over to help us. I had been blessed with a miracle, walking out of that crash without a scratch on my little body. I was 6 years old and almost lost my life.

This is not a story or a chapter, but it’s a reflection of his life that’s all being put together and now it all makes sense. In 2001 my grandpa was diagnosed with Leukemia, a blood cancer. He was doing very well; he was such a strong fighter. He was in remission for 2002 and 2003, we thought he was going to overcome this tremendous fight, but in 2004 the cancer hit hard. The cancer spread everywhere and his poor sole was taken away on June 15th, 2004. I remember the phone call that day, I remember I was sitting in my basement just playing with my brother when the phone rang and it was my dad. I will never forget the words he told me, he said, “Joe…, grandpa’s gone, he passed away.” My heart skipped a beat, I tried to hold in the tears but they were like rivers pouring off my eye lids as they slid down my cheek. I couldn’t believe this, I wondered why? Why did this have to happen to him? I wondered why this terrible disease had to take such a wonderful man. As I am typing this it brings tears to my eyes, thinking of what a good man he was and how every time I saw him he would put a smile on my face. When I was at his grave I thought to myself that God has a place and time for everyone and that you never know when things are going to happen. I know one thing, and that is that no matter when or where, his spirit is still with me. I know that without him I would not have accomplished what I have accomplished today and how much I have overcome and achieved. He was a very successful man and I wouldn’t be so fortunate if I didn’t have him as my grandfather. Our family has healed over the past couple of years, but it is not the same without him. No matter how rough things can be for me, I will always remember what he had taught me. A thing that kept me wondering my whole childhood life was when my grandfather would use to call me a “potzer”, as a young kid I never knew what was the meaning behind it until I asked my grandmother about the meaning behind it and she told me it means a growing well developing lad. He knew what my future would be and how it would turn out. Have you ever lost something that you have held onto so tight? He was and always will be grandfather. His name was Angelo, but I like to think of him as “Angelo the Angel.”

The author's comments:
This was dedicated to my Granpa who died from cancer in 2004

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