It was not until January of 2002 when I realized that I had been taking people in my life for granted. It is not guaranteed that you will see the people you love forever; this is why I believe in appreciation. When I was young, my family would often make trips to Kentucky to visit my Grandparents. We always went to my mother’s parent’s house which reeked of smoke and always made my hair smell. Although these trips were only made a few times a year, as a kid they bored me, so I was always excited to go home.
The last time I ever had to make this trip was Thanksgiving of 2001. Around Christmas time in 2001 we received a life changing phone call. My Mom answered and immediately started to cry. She sat me down and told me that my Grandpa had lung cancer; we left for Kentucky the next morning.
The next time I saw my Grandpa he was in a hospital bed. I took one look at him and started to cry. On January 2nd, 2002 I had to leave my Grandpa to go back home because Christmas break was almost over, my Mom stayed with him. When I left that day he was on a venelator because without it he couldn’t breathe on his own. On January 4th, 2002 my Mom called me and told me my Grandpa had passed away; she said, “He made the decision that was his time to go.” She told me she was with him when he died. My mom informed me that the night before he passed a preacher came and talked to him about his faith and prayed with him. I found this hard to understand because his whole life he had never been a religious man. But, with my tear-filled eyes I smiled knowing that he was in a better place. We left that night for the funeral and headed to Kentucky.
The next morning, it was cold and snowy when we arrived at the funeral home. We walked into the showing room and I took one last look at my Grandpa. I touched him on the hand for the last time, looked at his chest, and knew that in his heart was a piece of me that would forever remain. When I left the room the casket was shut, and I haven’t stopped missing my Grandpa since the moment I had to say goodbye.
Since this moment I have learned to appreciate everyone around me. Moments that at times may seem torturous are ones you will never get back. Back when I was eleven sitting in that smoky house may not have been what I wanted to be doing at that time, but it is a moment I wish I could have back. I wish I could leave Kentucky with my hair smelling like smoke just one last time, but it is a moment that is now inevitable. Just remember any moment could be your last; so, cherish the ones you love and the moments you spend together. This is why I believe in appreciation of those around you.