I believe that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I’ve always had a pretty good life, I have excellent health, I attend a good school so that I can get a high quality education, I have a family that cares about me, and friends to make me laugh. I was always grateful for everything that I had. However, up until last October, my possessions was taking over every area of my life as I was becoming materialistic and losing the value for the things that really mattered. A death in my family was what brought me to my knees to realize that you truly do not know what you have until it’s taken away from you.
I never had to deal with death until that cold and rainy October day when my family received a phone call that my uncle had died. I had known for the past three years he was battling with cancer, and even though I wasn’t necessarily close to my uncle, my father was, and the news hit him hard. I had never seen him more upset and I never had seen him break down in tears until that day. To see my father whom I love in such a state of devastation made my heart break. With the death, I had to overcome one of my biggest fears and attend my first funeral. My family and I flew to New York the next day for the memorial service. I really didn’t want to go but I wouldn’t dare to complain and make my dad more upset then he already was. We arrived at the funeral home as we mourned and cried with relatives and family friends.
As I stood there trying to take myself away from the atmosphere of the depressing and stuffy funeral home, the daughter of my uncle walked through my door looking as pale as a ghost with huge black bags around her eyes, just by looking at her I could tell that she had been crying for awhile. She was extremely close to her father, just as I was to mine. She kneeled at his coffin and broke down in tears not holding any emotions back.
That day I learned that it’s ok to cry and to not let yourself be afraid to let out your emotions. I learned to appreciate what I have, not necessarily the materialistic things, but my family and friends. I learned to never stay angry at anyone because you never know when it will be the last day you see them. On the way home from the funeral, I put the ear buds of my iPod in my ear and soaked in the encouraging lyrics by Tim McGraw; ”I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter, and I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying, and some day I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.” That sums it all up, and that is how I choose to live.
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