This I Believe

Erin - West Palm Beach, Florida
Entered on October 10, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe…..

I will never forget listening to the branches of the black olive tree banging against the metal shutters. I was so frightened, visioning the roof flying off, feeling the ground shake and the suction from the fireplace. I woke up with the fan in my face, relieved that Hurricane Wilma was over. It was now October 31st, Halloween. It was a Halloween I would never forget. I have never seen anyone, who is usually full of life, so weak and unaware, especially someone who I now consider my hero, my grandfather.

As a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents but as I grew older, I no longer did as much. My grandfather had many illnesses and ailments. He was always in surgery and always bandaged up. When doctors said he would not make it, he did. But one night he was taken to the emergency room where they said that he had anywhere from a few weeks to a few months left to live. He was getting weaker by the day and he was shutting down.

When he went to Pennsylvania with my grandmother, they went to visit family. He told everyone that this would be their last meeting, and he would miss them. He was always free-spirited and easy going. He loved horses and the green pastures. We always wondered what he was thinking when he was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. He always loved the countryside.

During Wilma, he was not doing too well and my family and I all knew we were losing him soon. Since my grandparents didn’t get power back right away, we were constantly at their house. When their power finally came back on, we had to get my grandfather an oxygen tank and a hospital bed. When we finally got the hospital bed set up, we placed him in it. He kept telling my mom that he needed to sit up, he felt like he was throwing up. As soon as he sat up, he took one final inhalation and he closed his eyes. That was his final smell of the world, final smell of us, and final look around. My brother, driving down from UF to see him, never got to see him except him lying dead in his bed. I have never seen my brother so heartbroken. I could not stand to be in the bedroom any longer. I had to get away from the house. Although this was a terrible day, I had to cheer up and get out and do something. My sister took me trick-or-treating and it really took my mind off of my grandfather’s death. It was a good time while it lasted but for the next few days, I kept busy. It was the only thing I could do to keep from crying. We had to have two funerals, one in Florida and another in Pennsylvania. The second funeral was the hardest because that was when we buried him. After we left his burial, we saw two deer running side by side through the green fields and my mom said “Look at what grandpa gets to see”.

This I believe is when I realized that you can never take advantage of today unless you know what is coming tomorrow. It also taught me that since life is so unpredictable, you should live everyday as it is your last, and that no fight is worth fighting for.