This I Believe

Lindsey - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death

During Thanksgiving, we all sit around the table naming countless things and people we are thankful for. But are we truly thankful? We may say we are, but how can we be sure? I believe that you cannot be genuinely grateful for something until you experience life without it.

We were on our way to the store when my mom got the call. My grandfather, Papa, had been rushed to the hospital because of extreme problems with his kidneys. The doctors did not expect him to live much longer. Only minutes before the call, my sister and I were happily chatting about our upcoming trip to California. After hearing the news I blurted, “Does this mean we can’t go?” My sister disgustedly accused me of being extremely selfish for even thinking about the trip. We all cried. They cried for Papa, while I cried about the canceled trip.

When we reached Papa’s room in the hospital, I realized how fatal his condition was. Machines were attached to every part of his body; I was terrified. Because it was so painful to look at him, I spent most of our trip keeping my distance. About a week after our visit, I got the news that my grandpa was dead. The words hit me hard. I understood everything. It was too late. He was gone forever.

Over the years, I have analyzed my selfish thoughts from the day the trip was canceled six years ago. As a kid, we don’t realize how much we really need anything because we have never had to live without it. It is too easy to get caught up in the moment and not realize what we are missing out on. It is too easy to take everything for granted because we don’t know any better. And it is too easy to let life slip by without spending enough time with the people we love. Because I was so focused on my vacation, I took my own grandfather for granted when he needed me most. I did not realize how important he was to me until I had lost him forever.