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Grey Hair

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I was raised in a good family, I was taught that with age comes wisdom, I was taught to respect my elders and to say yes sir and no ma'am. I was taught to work half a day and during those twelve hours to give it my all, and at the end of the day, no matter what the outcome, to be proud of what I had accomplished. I was taught that the truth was the only way to go, and that trust was something you honored - and you only gave to people you knew could handle it. But the one thing I was never taught was how to deal with defeat. Gray hair taught me how to deal with defeat. I believe in gray hair.
My life began April 9th 2000, on my tenth birthday. On that day my world came crashing down - everything I had been taught lost all meaning. On that fateful day, I lost my grandfather to cancer, I was told my parents were going to get a divorce, and found out that my mother had breast cancer. It was the end of the world. I was just waiting for the ground to start shaking. I had lived my life as I was taught and my walls still had come crashing down. I was looking for some place to run - anywhere I could go and get away from the world. I found this place in the form of my grandmother. I went to my grandmother's as much as I could over the next few months. I would go to her boat on the ocean and we would sit on the deck and talk. We skirted the graver issues of life, and instead talked about the ocean or look-up the new fish I had pulled from the shrimp nets while at work earlier that morning.
Three months after my personal apocalypse, I came back from work with some strange new species of fish I had 'discovered' in the nets and expected to sit on the deck with my grandmother like always and talk about my find. But today was different. She told me to put the fish back in the bucket and to look at her. It left me confused ' she almost never acted this serious. I did what she said and sat there waiting. She said, 'Your mother is going to start her chemotherapy tomorrow and I was wondering if you wanted to go with her.' I began shifting in my chair and asked if I could change the water in the bucket before my fish died. Smiling, she asked me to hurry. When I got back I tried changing the topic and she cut in with a question I will never forget: 'Do you know why I have gray hair?' I looked at her puzzled. After thinking for a minute, I finally replied, 'Because your old and that's what happens when you get old.' She laughed. 'That's true but do you know why only old people have gray hair?' I said no. 'We have gray hair because we love. Each gray hair on my head is grey because I gave my love to someone in a time of need. I have a gray hair from the day your mother was born and another one from the day you were born, and I have a gray hair from the day your grandfather died. I have so many gray hairs I have trouble finding a black hair on my head - so I need your help. You still have lots of love to give, and if we put our love together, maybe we can help you mom win her fight with cancer.' I said I would love to help her. The next day, we went to the hospital with my mother and I held her hand as she got her shot. I was there for every shot after that as she fought the cancer for three years' and won.
After the chemotherapy started, I went back to my mother's house and took care of my sisters until she had completed the treatment and was back to normal. I am now seventeen and about to start my junior year at a military prep school in Indiana. But whenever I find someone that needs a little love, I think about my head and how many gray hairs I'll get this time.





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