The doctor said six months. My grandpa was given six months to live. All I could think about was what I wanted to do with him before that time was up. I wanted to go fishing with him one more time, I wanted to play Sequence with him until two in the morning again, and I wanted him to watch me play in a national softball tournament one more time. Then, two weeks after the doctor gave him six months, my parents drove to my grandma and grandpa’s house at ten in the morning because Grandpa wasn’t doing well. Nearly eleven hours later, I was sitting in the living room with my sister when I saw a car pull into the driveway. My mom walked in the door and sat down next to me on the couch. “I’m sorry girls,” was all she could say. I looked at her and broke down crying. I was twelve and my sister was almost nine, and I knew that grandpa and I wouldn’t be able to do the things I had planned to do one more time. We never got to go fishing, we never got to play Sequence, and he never got to watch me play in a national softball tournament again.
That was just over four years ago and I remember every detail about that night. I wore my pink pajamas with turtles on them, the ones my aunt had bought me for Christmas last year and my sister wore her blue ones with ducks. We were watching Nickelodeon when my mom told us the news. I remember my sister and I flying into her arms, crying, saying that it wasn’t fair. We stayed in her arms for a while, and then I went to my room and got my picture box out. I started looking through all the pictures of grandpa and I, remembering the first time we went fishing together and the time he went swimming in our pool. I remember finding a picture of the two of us at one of my softball tournaments. I remember taking it downstairs with me, sitting on the couch, and staring at it. I thought that maybe if I looked hard enough, he would come back. That’s where I fell asleep in my mom’s arms.
Does everybody have a memory like that? A memory that you can’t forget no matter what? Maybe your unforgettable memory is a family wedding, a death, college graduation, or the first time your heart was broken. We all have memories, good and bad, that stick with us. People always keep the good memories in the back of our mind and when everyone is just sitting around with friends and family, they say, “Remember that one time…” Everyone brings up the memories that makes them laugh and feel good inside. But for some reason, they always try to forget the bad. They figure that no good came out of it, so why remember? Well, why not? Why not take the bad experiences and learn from them or teach others about them? If somebody’s mistakes can save someone else, why not try? I believe that if people can learn from their bad experiences, they can make tons of new memories. I believe that the good memories will keep people going and the bad memories will only make people stronger. I believe that if someone learns from the bad and appreciates the good, they will live their life to the fullest.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.