This I Believe

Ashley - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on November 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Death is Part of Reality, Don’t Take People for Granted

During my life, I have found that we can never see the death of a loved one coming, and even if we know it’s coming, we’re never really prepared for it. I believe that in our refusal to see that even loved ones, die, we tend to take people for granted, when we should be showing how much we care. This belief started three years ago, when I first realized that loved ones do die.

My grandfather at the age of 86 had been to the hospital several time since before I was born. I was used to him being in the hospital once in a while, but never once did I expect him to die. I always thought that each time he returned from the hospital, he’d be healthier. Once in 2003, he left the hospital, but had to go into a nursing home. I took this as a good sign, but when I visited him, he didn’t look well and was complaining of some pains, yet it never occurred to me that he could die that very day, but he did. Even after I heard the tragic news, I couldn’t believe it, until my dad started calling relatives to inform them of the death.

That night so many regrets came running through my mind. I wished I had learned to speak Cantonese, so that I could have actually talked to my grandpa, who spoke little to no English. I regretted that I hadn’t visited him more during his lifetime, and that when I did visit him I didn’t really spend much time with him. While thinking of all the things I wish I had done, I also remembered the things I was glad that I did, like hugging him each time after a visit and doing small things to help him. At that moment I decided that I would make a small change in my life to rid myself of those regrets.

I managed to get rid of one of those regrets easily, when my grandma moved in with us. I started spending more time with her, and we became closer. About five months after moving in with us, my grandma became ill. Her condition wasn’t getting much better, and if she left the hospital she would have to be hooked up to an oxygen machine for the rest of her life, so together my grandma and relatives decided to pull the cord. Even though, her death was expected I was still extremely upset. The regrets came through my mind again, but this time the list was shorter, and the thought of this relieved me somewhat from my grief.

This experience has shown me that I should show people how much I care about them, while I still have the chance. It’s hard to see when I may lose another loved one, so I need to make it apparent each day. It’s a slow process that’s hard to maintain, but it’s a belief I will always keep.