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They taught me about the importance of gaining a good education.
They taught me to respect different cultural values, and to have a strong sense of personal identity.
My real-life experience, coupled with my family background can contribute to bringing diverse groups of people together.
When my parents finally revealed to me that my grandmother had been battling liver cancer, I was twelve and I was angry--mostly with myself.
They had wanted to protect me--only six years old at the time--from the complex and morose concept of death.
Mary and I are Christians, but John is an Agnostic.
I was afraid that our friendship would end because of or constant arguing, so I suggested that we refrain from discussing religion when we are together.
I started to believe that academic perfection would be the only way to redeem myself in her eyes--to make up for what I had not done as a granddaughter.
However, a simple walk on a hiking trail behind my house made me open my own eyes to the truth.
They covered the precious mahogany coffin with a brown amalgam of rocks, decomposed organisms, and weeds.
It was my turn to take the shovel, but I felt too ashamed to dutifully send her off when I had not properly said goodbye. I refused to let go of my grandmother, to accept a death I had not seen coming, to believe that an illness could not only interrupt, but steal a beloved life.