When my grandpa died, I learned that you should always value everything in your life because you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. A lot of the time, everything that you take for granted in your life is one of the most significant things—or people.
Years ago, my grandpa had been diagnosed with cancer. He got treated, and they removed the cancer. For about seven years he was healthy, at least that’s what we thought. It turns out the cancer came back on and off for the last two or three years. Every other month he stayed at the hospital. It could’ve been a coincidence, but he always would be home and “healthy” for the holidays. On weekends we’d set off to my grandparents house for quick visits, just to check up on them and have dinner.
One ordinary Sunday, we went on a typical drive to see them. It was an eventful day, and we didn’t have time to stop for long. We wanted to anyway because my grandpa had rested in the hospital on and off for the last few months. We visited for about an hour and discussed, but when we staggered outside to the car, I had this bizarre feeling in my gut, but I wasn’t sure what it intended. I was not aware of it then, but that was the last time I gazed at my grandpa.
On Monday, and for the rest of that week, I strolled into school just like every other week. On Wednesday, my family and I were informed my grandpa returned to the hospital. He would undergo treatment and by Thursday my dad reported, “he is doing so much better”. We wanted to visit, but it was tough because of extracurricular activities and homework, so we felt confident in waiting until the weekend because this scenario had happened multiple times in the previous few months.
Every morning, my mom would wake me up because I insisted that alarm clocks didn’t work for me. I remember so vividly now that she came in a half hour early to wake me up on Friday morning, and whispered worriedly “your dad and I need to go to the hospital because we got a call informing us that grandpa is not doing well this morning”. Of course I was concerned, but I had to continue on with my day hoping that everything would be okay, and muttering to myself that this has happened before and he’ll be home in no time. I recall having an amazing day, and I was in an excellent mood when I arrived home. My sister was home by then, and when I scurried through the front door I spied my mom and sister positioned in front of me waiting for me to leap inside. I pray to myself that they’re not about to say what I imagine. But they do. My grandpa died that morning.
When I reflect back to that day, that week, I remember everything. What I wore, who I talked to, and how my hair looked. After my mom woke me up and told me that he wasn’t doing well, I got nervous so I went to put on my yellow livestrong bracelet and it broke. The time on my grandma’s microwave, my aunt’s microwave, and our microwave were all gone, I don’t believe that was just a coincidence, more like a sign that something would happen. That day, I realized that we should live in the moment, and appreciate what we have because you never know when it’s going to disappear.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.