This I Believe

August 14, 2008
By Amanda deBerardinis, San Diego, CA

My next door neighbor, Mary Ryan, and I were very close. She was a kind and elderly woman who was practically like a third grandmother to me. When I was about four or five, she always cheered me up when I felt perturbed and answered my inquiries about any subject truthfully. I came over, always interested in her picture albums, which enlightened me with her past. She would read to me my favorite story, “The Three Little Pigs,” and other memorable tales. When I grew older, I always looked forward to devouring her famous eggs, which she prepared for me with love and care. I developed the interest of reading and soon I was learning to write stories of my own. I believe that it was she who triggered my interest in creative writing. Ever since I was five years old, it became a habit for me to sit down at her little antique desk to write countless stories with hand-drawn covers. She encouraged me, and it became my destiny to become an author. She taught me how important it was to work hard to do my best, to do well in school, as well as to follow my dreams, especially pursuing writing.
I was about six years old, when she broke her pelvic bone. She tripped in her bedroom in the middle of the night. Sprawled upon the floor near her bedside, she was finally able to finger the phone to call our house. My mom rushed over and an ambulance arrived, taking her to the hospital. It was a tough time for her, which I remember vividly. I brought flowers and a newspaper to her in the hospital, and learned how to make her famous eggs, so that I could return the many favors she had done for me. I owed it to her, since she was always there for me when I needed her.
I slowly became aware that she seemed to be becoming weaker, and she struggled living alone. She lost sight in one eye, and I recall asking her if she knew I was there beside her. Then, I remember my mom telling me calmly one day that my beloved neighbor had passed away in her sleep early one morning. I had a difficult time understanding that I would never see her again, but then I discovered that she would be blissful and free in Heaven, which delighted me. I received her antique desk as a memento of her encouragement to keep writing. Her daughter, Lee, permanently moved in, and we celebrate Valentine’s Day in remembrance of her birthday, and her passionate and caring nature toward others. She died before her wish to make it to be eighty years old, too. Her death taught me many of my values that I hold dear today, such as working hard, achieving goals, and taking opportunities in life to excel. I feel her spirit within me still, for she was a wave of inspiration in my life. This I believe.

The author's comments:
This was written in honor of my elderly neighbor, Mary Ryan, in her memory.

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This article has 1 comment.

PattyPr said...
on Aug. 25 2008 at 9:41 pm
This was such a beautiful tribute to my mother that it brought tears to my eyes. My mother always said that someday this beautiful girl will be a famous writer. I know she would be so happy that you are remembering her and using her desk to write at. She would call me long distance to tell me of your writing and say she hopes that you will continue to do so your whole life. My mom loved you and your brother very much. Keep up the stories and sharing them with us.


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