When asked what I am most proud of, I automatically think of my family. I have been raised to believe that family is the most important thing in life, and I completely agree that they are. I wear my last name with pride, engraved in the very being I am. I know for a fact, that because I am a Brentano, I am who I am. My family has instilled love, faith, and strength into my character. Together, my family has celebrated triumphs and grieved over tragedies.

Seven years ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The man we knew walked into the hospital, and was wheeled out a changed man. Some people would think this would separate a family, but it only brought my family closer. I witnessed my grandmother display her strength by staying strong, her love by never leaving his side, and her patience by never doubting God. I can only aspire to become the woman that my grandmother is. I am not only proud of my grandmother during this time, but every member of my family. Each member contributed their own strengths to help us make it through this trial. While we unveiled many strengths, we also opened up about our fears. Our grandfather getting sick was both a tragedy and an eye opener. It helped us realize that the most important people in our lives, were standing beside us the whole time.

I suffer from Depression and Anxiety. I have opted to not take medication, to use other coping tools, like therapy, faith and writing to keep me strong. My family is at the core of those tools, they are the rock in my personal storm. I won’t say that every day is easy; everyday is difficult. It takes love and patience from my parents and sisters to get through every day, but it also taught me to be patient with myself, to love myself. As alone as the depression and the anxiety makes me feel, I know that I will never be alone. My family is always there, holding my hand, or pushing me to fight my storm. I know that I can walk through the hallways, and my sister or my cousin will pull me into their arms and lend me their smile. I can drive to my grandparent’s house and come away with a new found sense of pride in the family we are.

Like every family, we have had our achievements and our struggles, our good days and our bad days, our little arguments and our moments of laughter. Yet when you ask me what I am most proud of, no matter what we go through or what happens, I know in my heart that my greatest pride in life is my family. And it always will be. Family reminds you that you are not alone, that you are strong, and important. My family has prepared me for the future, and I am very thankful for every thing they are.

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