My grandfather’s kind, gentle hands held warmth
and passed on his sense of peace and joy to everyone he touched. His influence
on my life challenged me when I struggled to find purpose, and his integrity in
the face of extreme adversity continues to guide my life choices.
My first year of high school found me ambitions and nervous, I
already fought hard to maintain a high GPA and push myself. Halfway through
that first, rocky school year, my grandfather was rushed to the hospital,
unresponsive. He coded numerous times, and while he survived they were very
open and honest with my grandparents that his time was limited. Heart disease
wracked his body and his heart was held together by metaphorical paperclips and
shoestrings. We joked that he kept giving too much of it to everyone else,
leaving none for himself.
What happens next when you’re faced with the inevitable loss of a
loved one is a big mixture of heartache with an odd sense of time looming
ominously over every second you spend together. It’s like knowing a hurricane
is going to devastate your home, but being unable to stop it and simply taking
in the moments before everything changes forever. Every moment is sweeter,
every hug—tighter, every word—kinder. And you lock down the house, preparing
for what cannot be stopped.
For me, in the heat of my high school years, he continuously
encouraged me by brightly saying things like, “How’s school? What college do
you intend on going to? You’re smart, you know that, right? You need to enroll
in Texas A&M.”
Although his initial sickness knocked me down, I found strength by
focusing on all the things I wanted for him. I studied harder, practiced
harder, and reminded myself of his pride so that those last years of his life
could see his granddaughter working towards success. I wanted to repay the
years of love and joy he gave me by making sure he saw how his legacy of
kindness and encouragement paid off.
As the doctors predicted, over the next few years his heart
deteriorated. Heart attacks hit one after another and increased until the man I
loved became a shell of his spritely old self. November of my senior year
showed up and I sat crying in an icy, Houston hospital chair. That month was
one of the longest as we said our goodbyes slowly, over the course of weeks as
attack after attack reduced him to someone I had never seen.
He reminded us, that month, that he not only loved us each as
individuals, but of all the things that mattered to him: his faith, his family,
his personal bad decisions, his good decisions, and what he wanted for each of
gratitude to him for his gentle encouragement went unabated, and I continued to
succeed in academics, athletics, and took time to think through what I wanted
of my future and remembering to include time for my faith, family, and giving
back to him by volunteering my time to love others.
I decided on Texas A because of its prestige and benefit to
my life and the life of my future family, but also in part because of my
grandfather and his constant encouragement to attend. After being unsure of my degree
plans for quite some time, Human Resource Development finally sparked my
interest. I soon realized that I had all the aspects needed in this potential
field. I am very organized, assertive, determined, and I have sharp
communication skills. I love the idea of assisting others in developing new
skills in order to succeed in their work place.
By helping businesses, I would receive the fulfillment of knowing I
helped people absorb information and become further committed to their jobs. Being
accepted into Texas A University will not only positively impact my life,
but also the lives of others. I will be proud of myself for overcoming
obstacles to achieve this goal, and this accomplishment will be even sweeter
knowing that my grandfather would be smiling ear to ear.
Furthermore, when I have completed my undergraduate career and I
begin working in the field of Human Resource Development, I will be able to
give back to others and motivate them to achieve their goals just as my
grandfather motivated me; that in itself is the ultimate reward.