Miranda Deaton's Essay Submission
It’s Not What She’s Done; It’s Who She Is: Mary Lou Clair
No woman has directly inspired me to become something great because of actions they have taken in their own lives; however, it is not always what people do that can inspire, but what they do not do that changes the mindset of their peers. My grandmother, Mary Lou Clair, is the definition of this sort of inspiration. She started college at a young age and almost finished her degree in business with all but eight credit hours left. Instead she went on to marry my grandfather and have four children, my mother being one of them. I am inspired to complete my undergraduate education and hopefully further on to graduate school because I want to continue what she could not finish, not only for myself but for her as well.
My grandmother has battled breast cancer, raised four children, became disabled with Multiple Sclerosis for 52 years; 20 years of which she has been wheel chair bound. She has also come close to death more than once in the past year. She has fought so much for her place in this world, a feature that makes me realize how lucky I am to be alive with no major problems. We are given so much in this world that we don’t appreciate and everything that she has been through reminds me of how important it is to follow through with my dreams.
All of the things that my grandmother was not able to do when she was my age inspire me to try to accomplish them. She started college in 1953, when only a little over a quarter of college students were women, whereas I attend a university almost 400 miles from home and over half the students are women. My grandmother was never able to hold a real job because of her lack of a degree and the responsibility of taking care of her family. I, on the other hand, will study abroad in South Africa next year and hope to eventually have my own practice as an art therapist.
Now that she is getting older, I try to take every opportunity I can to attain our dreams before she cannot remember them anymore. Her life inspires me to keep a focus on what really is important and to accomplish even more than she has during her lifetime. Last year, I thought I was going to have to say good bye to her forever, and I was not ready grasp the thought of her not being in my life. She means the world to me, and it is still hard to imagine what my life is going to be like when she is gone. Even when she does leave this earth, I do know that I will continue to be inspired by her life and work toward our goals.