This I Believe

Charlene - Pasadena, California
Entered on October 17, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death

You never really know how much you have

I had always heard people saying that, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”, but I never really took it into consideration that someone I loved dearly could be gone so quick. This someone is my grandma, my last grandparent, and I know that I shouldn’t pick favorites, but she was my favorite. I had lived with her from the day I was born until I was fourteen years old. I still have a vivid image of the day that she passed.

It was a Saturday evening in early July, my oldest brother and I had had an argument about college yet again and he stormed out of the house and left me alone to replay all of the hurtful things he had said about me and my future, but I tried to remain strong. Around ten o’clock that night we received a phone call from my aunt in England telling us of the horrific news. I remember everyone in the living room frozen with shock, yet crying with sadness. My other aunt was over in America on vacation; she had come to watch my brothers and I graduate, and when she heard of the news we knew that her vacation was over. I ran to my room crying hysterically, (I am not one to share my emotions with people), I rocked back and forth sitting on the bed reminiscing all of the good times that we had shared knowing that there would be no more.

My grandma, I called her nan or nanny, had cancer since she was in her mid- fifties, she had cancer of the blood which is known as leukemia. My mom, my brothers and I left my nan in the summer of 2003 and moved to the United States. I remember her being a big woman all my life and when we took our first vacation back to England that is when I noticed the change. She looked very aged, and had lost a lot of weight; she just did not look like the same woman I had left behind two years prior to my visit. In the spring of 2006 my mom left the United States to go back to England to take care of my nan in England. Her Leukemia had gotten worse, and my mom did not feel right about leaving my nan by herself. When my mom came home two months later she said that she thought all was well and that my nan should be able to cope by herself.

The night that we heard about my nan’s death, my dad read a passage from the Bible. It touched everyone in the room because it was so true to the situation. That was when I decided that I was going to make a speech at my nans funeral.

When I arrived back in England it was a bittersweet feeling- bitter because I was there to attend my nans funeral, and sweet because I was back at home, where I wanted to be, with my family and friends. The day that we arrived was the day that I would see my nan for the last time in the chapel of rest. She was pale and, so thin that I barely recognized her. The following day was the funeral and one of the saddest most depressing days of my life. When I was called up to do my speech I was shaking with nervousness; the room seemed so big and all eyes were on me. My vision was blurred and I felt like my legs were going to buckle I was so nervous. I was proud that I did my speech and I know that my nan would have been proud too.

I had to leave England first because I had to come back to school. Leaving my nans house, knowing that I would never be going back there again, was one of the hardest things that I had to do whilst I was out there. I now know that she is in a better place and I would not want her to live her life suffering.

“You don’t know what you have until its gone”, no one really does, and everyone should treasure every moment that they get to spend with their loved ones, because you never know when it is their time to go. This has been my belief ever since I lost my grandma. My dad and I were not the closest of people when I moved to America because he had lived here most of my life. Nowadays I try to spend any time I have with him and the rest of my family because life is too short to hold grudges and you never know what you have in life until it is gone and you no longer have it.