The Little Things

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A lot of people in the world today look up to celebrities and movie stars. To them, fame and fortune are their only focus. Life isn’t complete unless you have a condo in the Hamptons and a twelve-car garage for all your fancy vehicles. These factors are what some admire; however, I am not one of those people. I grew up with a different perspective. My grandma’s struggles and accomplishments taught me the most important things I have learned. The small things she does every day, those that have been with her from the beginning, have showed me the true values in life.

At first, Carolyn was an only child. She spent her days with her playhouse on the side of their garage. Her father was in the army, and he was also sent to fight in World War I. Because of this, she spent a lot of time with her grandparents. It was a bit of a lonely life for her up until her younger brother was born. Even so, she had a great childhood. She was around her family a lot, and she was raised doing what she loves; helping animals. She would often roam the alley behind her house to look for strays in need of help. Her parents always told her that no animals should be mistreated, and this advice stayed with her throughout her entire life.

When she grew older, she married at a fairly young age. Years after that, she had a family of nine children. With her husband by her side, she raised all the kids while still taking care of a backyard garden and many racehorses they owned. She brought her kids up much like she was raised. She needed all the help she could get around the house, and she made sure everyone did their part to assist her. “It was difficult,” she said. “But they were good kids, and they worked hard.”

On the other hand, there were many times in her life that were extremely difficult to get through. During the year of 2005, she was admitted to the hospital due to heart problems. As it turned out, she needed open-heart surgery. The doctors would have to completely open her chest to put a device in her heart and hopefully fix the problem. After months of recovery, she had shown a lot of improvement. But the surgery didn’t stop there. Later in the same year, she was told that she needed yet another open-heart surgery. The news was troublesome. She never thought that she would have to go through that immense pain for a second time. Although it was upsetting, it had to be done. With strength much like the warrior Odysseus, Carolyn overcame the agony. With a somber look on her face, she had said, “That was the worst pain I had ever experienced in my life.”

Though the surgeries were in the past now, the strain on her heart was not. About a decade before her two operations, she had lost her husband when he died in 1994. Since then, she was living alone and providing for herself. Then, in early 2006, she got the news of her oldest son. Tom had died of a heart attack. She was shocked. Her heart was wounded once again. Out of everything she had been through, nothing compared to this. It left a hole in her world that could never be replaced.

Looking back on her struggles, she has moved past them by learning from them. She lives each day with a great value in life, and the knowledge that she has accomplished many things. Most of all, she has found that family is the most important thing you can have. “Everybody should be with their family,” she said. Her hardships have given her a new way to see everything and the knowledge to teach her family the same. Her success in even a conventional life shows what a great hero and inspiration she is to me.





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