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My Guardian Angel And My Inspiration; My Grandma--with A Free Essay Review
While I sit, looking through old photographs and reminiscing on many of my past memories, the tears begin to cascade down my cheeks. Recalling my grandmas voice and the words she would have said to me I begin to wipe my tears. Taylor stop your crying! What did I tell you? When Im gone, I only want smiles and good memories passed down. The tears fade away a smile is slowly painted upon my face as I reminisce on the time spent with her. As I comply with my grandmas wishes and I would like to share some smiles and memories to you.
At the tender age of six months old, my grandma had moved into my home. My dad had to be providing for my family, so every morning he would leave to go to work. My mother also had another child, my older brother Daniel. Dan was diagnosed with ADHD and short term memory at a young age so it was a struggle for my mom to meet his needs and mine. This is when my grandma decided to step in and help my mother raise us. She was a second mother figure that I am so grateful to have had in my life. Growing older, I learned the ways of life not mainly from my parents, but from my grandma also. Since I am the only girl in the family she spoiled me to no end. Taking me to petting zoos, parks, playing nonstop board games, card games, playing dress-up, every day consisted of something new. I loved that she spent every chance she had with me.
Eventually it was time for her to leave, because although she loved being with me and my family she did have her own life to attend to also. She left to go back to Florida where she was living at the time when she came to help raise me and my brother. I began to miss her dearly. Every chance I got I would go down to Florida to visit her, weather it was the Christmas holiday, Easter, summer break or even just a quick weekend visit, I loved her presence and she loved mine.
Although I kept growing older I never shut my grandmother out of my life. I always called her to ask for her opinion on things; she was who I directed my self towards when I needed advice. College is a very important turning point in any young adults life, and was always a major concern to my grandma. Going into high school was stressful, but the stress was chased away by my grandmas warm heart and longing to help me in any way that she could. She began sending me news articles, tips, college books everything and anything that had to do with making my decision of where to go and what to be. I was so grateful to have my grandma cutting out anything she saw because they all did benefit me greatly.
In December 2010, my grandma was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I didnt understand what was going on, but my family kept reassuring me that my grandma would be all right. Although I was extremely worried, I believed my family and tried my best to put all of my focus into school. As I aged, it hit me that my grandma was aging as well. She was able to stay in her home for a while but she began feeling ill. With all of the constant commotion that comes along with high school, my grandmas cancer was in the back of my mind, until one day I found out it had spread into his bones.
At this point, my grandma was becoming extremely weak, and could barely walk. The time went on, and she worsened. On April 30, 2010 at around 8:00 am, she had peacefully passed away in the hospital. Ever since that day, my life has never been the same. Prostate cancer won the battle against my inspiration, my grandmother.
My grandma had taught me to live every day as if it was your last, and if darkness surrounds you, find light in the ones that you love. God wanted another angel in Heaven, and he chose my grandma. I know that she is now my guardian angel and watches over me. Every decision I am forced to make I know that she is right on my shoulder giving me advice on what to do. Ive lived my life differently since he passed away; I appreciate everything I have so much more than I used to. I dont take any aspect of my life for granted. As I conclude with my story, I smile. I can feel my grandma, sitting next to me, and I can feel how proud she is. Now that my beautiful grandma has lived and passed, Im ready to pick up where she left off and make the lives of others amazing, just how my grandma would want.
This is not my favorite dead grandmother story. My favorite is "Grandma's Hands," which is in fact an old Bill Withers song. One reason I like your story a little less than Withers' is that yours is a little more saccharine (what with cascading tears and all) and a little less focused on the grandma. Bill's grandma is interesting not just because she watches out for him (though she does that too) but also and especially because she has other concerns. She claps in church. She plays the tambourine. She soothes a local unwed mother, which is the kind of detail that tells you something about a person. I assume that you are writing a story about someone who had an impact on your life, and that is the reason you start with your tears and end with your smiling sitting next to a ghost. Recalling Withers' song, though, I wonder whether your essay would be more powerful if you told us not just the nice things your grandma did for you and how you felt about that, but also something more concrete about who your grandma was and what she did with her own life. All we know about her, after all, beyond arriving (at the unlikely age of six months old!) at your doorstep to take care of you and giving you advice as you got older, is that she got cancer and died, and even that story about cancer is essentially a story about you. You do mention at one point that your grandma had her own life to live, and so went back to Florida, but you say nothing about that life, and so we end up knowing very little about her, other than the fact that she is one of a billion grandmas who have looked after children.
My basic advice, then, is that you try to avoid oversentimentalizing your grandmother, and avoid taking the risk of articulating sentiments that will appear insipid or banal to some readers, and will do so independent of how genuine the sentiment may be; you might want to avoid, for instance, sentiments like the one about God giving your grandma a fatal metastatic disease because he wanted another angel (yes, I'm being egregiously insensitive, but with a view to pointing out how your very different way of putting things might come across as egregiously platitudinous). I think if you create a respectful portrait of your grandma as a real (i.e., not idealized and not sentimentalized) human being, you can begin to talk meaningfully about how and why you respect her, and how precisely she influenced you.
Grammar note: Some of your modifiers dangle. A modifier is something (a word or phrase) that qualifies or modifies the meaning of something (a noun, say). A dangling modifier, is a modifier that qualifies the meaning of something not there to be qualified, such as the absent "I" of the following:
"at the tender age of six, my grandma came to visit my house."
Given the absense of the intended pronoun ("I"), the unfortunate phrase "at the tender age of six" has no choice but to modify instead "my grandma." See if you can spot another instance of this problem in the same paragraph as that from which this example was taken.
Usage: Whether, weather, and wether are three different words.
Proofreading: Proofreading usually has benefits. In its current form, your essay has your grandma being diagnosed with cancer "in December 2010" and dying from the disease several months earlier "on April 30, 2010." You also refer to "his" bones.
Keep writing, EJ
Postscript: "Prostate cancer" is usually taken to refer to cancer of the male prostate gland. Assuming that you have not made a mistake, and that you are referring to cancer of the female prostate gland (aka Skene's gland), then you may want to clarify that fact for your reader, who many not know that "female prostate cancer," though rare, is possible.
Submitted by: taylor valente
My grandmother was a tough lady.
At just over five feet tall, she was the kind of woman that you saw on the street and knew to move out of her way. Her demeanor was strict, her hands tied with thick blue veins, crisscrossing over her thin, frail fingers.
I remember holding her hands as a child, how delicate and soft they seemed and yet that never made them seem any less worn or sturdy. Her hands told stories of different times, of different worlds and hardships. She had grown up worlds away from me, in a different land, at a different time, in an era and a life that I would never know.
My grandmother had stories.
But, she never told stories. Her stories were in the way she ate — she savored her food, cherished it. Often she would be the first to the dinner table, and the last to leave. Food had been scarce when she grew up and as a girl, she would be forced to give it up to her brothers or her father. She was never a priority. She grew up thinking and feeling that she was second to last, only succeeded by her mother.
Her stories were in the way she would sit in the afternoon, by the window, resting. My grandmother had worked her entire life, without fail. From a young age, she was brought up to understand the importance of hard work and the necessity of saving. Every Chinese New Year, I would be handed, or sent, a small red envelope that contained money, but never more than twenty dollars.
When I was young, I thought it was my grandmother being cheap. As I grew older, I realized that she wasn’t teaching me about money, but about tradition and hard work and family. The money was insignificant, I would probably spend it on some meaningless charm or toy that I would lose soon after, it was the meaning behind her gift that mattered. It was her saying, ‘I love you; I am your family and I want you to work hard as your family has before you.’
My grandmother’s stories were lessons.
But they were never told in words. From the time that I was very young, up until she could barely remember my name, I remember her telling me, ‘good girl.’ Those two little words, which as I grew older, were a constant reminder that I was still so young, with still so far to go. She was seldom outwardly affectionate. She didn’t need to be. When I wrapped my arms around her small frame, afraid I would break her, she responded with a strength disproportionate to her size.
She held tightly, like she was holding on for dear life, and then she let go, she smiled and she moved on.
My grandmother was an intelligent woman.
She had little schooling, but she had run businesses. She had managed on her own, with a husband and sons, in a country that didn’t care for her or her culture, but only for their aggrandized version of it. Her experiences were rightful cause to be jaded and hard, and yet she saw brightness and she saw brightness in me. She saw the great things in life, she loved hard and appreciated the little things — us going for a walk together or just sitting in the sun on a warm day.
My grandmother’s stories were in her complaints.
My grandmother complained about petty things: things that I would complain about. But she never complained about life and she never complained about pain.
My grandmother had developed a brain tumor, which when removed, removed much of her immediate memory. For a long time, she didn’t remember my name. She had no idea who I was. But she tried and she learned.
She understood perseverance and the importance of people and she carried on against all odds. The last time I spoke to her, she knew exactly who I was, despite years between the last times we had seen each other. Later, my grandmother would develop cancer, a cancer that she would never be told about. She would be constantly cold and never hungry. Her hands, which had always felt strong, would feel frail and weak, as they had always looked. She would gratefully and respectfully refuse food. Often, she would not be strong enough to get out of bed or sit up.
But when she opened her eyes, there was light in them.
My grandmother passed away, peacefully, on December of 2014 — four months after I began my first semester in college.
I was the only one of her grandchildren to not speak at her funeral. At first, I felt like I had failed her. I had copped out. But as I returned to college, I realized that no eulogy would commemorate her. It was not a eulogy, it was a lifestyle. A lifestyle that I had chosen without even realizing it.
I attend a women’s college, surrounding myself with intelligent, self-assured women with experiences beyond my understanding. My grandmother embodied this, in the lessons she taught, in the pats on my back and the constant compliments of ‘good girl.’ She pushed into me a drive and thirst for intelligence and learning and a perseverance that can never be kicked down. She taught me how to love hard and be passionate in everything I do, whilst also never forgetting how to slow down and appreciate the little things: the sun on a warm day or a walk with a loved one.
The great women in our lives don’t have to be celebrities to make an impact. It is through them, and their personal stories and struggles, that we create a legacy that fosters wonderfully, intelligent and passionate women who choose their own paths.
I see my grandmother every day. I see her in the women around me and in the mirror. She lives with me, inside me, and in the legacies that I will create. And I know, she would be proud.
(Photo courtesy of Katherine Lee)