This I Believe

Zach - Arlington, Virginia
Entered on September 20, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem, death

I believe that saying “goodbye” could always be for the last time, especially when it is least expected. Just over a year ago my uncle Elliot passed away of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He was 67. He had been fighting the disease for as long as I can remember and he never let himself be seen when he as weak or let his pain show. A few days before, I told my mom I would go with her to visit my aunt with her but the day of, I had had a long day of school and all I wanted to do was relax at home. In the end, she convinced me to go. The night he died he was in the hospital being treated for a mild case of pneumonia. My aunt explained to us that the doctors had told her he was fine, that he was sleeping and that he would not let either my mom or I to see him in his current condition.We reluctantly went down to the cafeteria with her to eat dinner.

As my mom and I went to the waiting area after dinner, my aunt told us she was just going to check on Elliot before she came to say goodbye to us. We sat and waited for about half an hour when a doctor came and asked us who we were. Puzzled, we told him and a grave look shot across his face and he told us that Elliot had just had a heart attack and he died painlessly. He led us to a small room where we found my aunt crying and my mom promptly broke down next to her. All I could do was sit back, dazed thinking about the man I had known for my entire life, my uncle, Elliot. I thought of the days that I spent with him relaxing by the pool, all of the 4th of Julys spent grilling hot dogs and shooting fireworks, of the day I spent learning what he did at his office, of all the birthday dinners, of Christmas mornings full of presents and smiles, and of the countless hours he spent talking to my parents about everything from politics to baseball. I couldn’t believe I would never see him again. I cried.

After his funeral, I thought back on that night. I thought of how terrible I would have felt if I had not gone with my mom that night. I loved my uncle. I never would have thought that it would have been the last time I ever said “goodbye” to him. I know I will never leave someone without telling him or her “goodbye” again. I believe that this time could be the last time, and will not let that just slip away. This I believe.