The subject of death is often surrounded with sadness, remorse, and a deep anxious fear. No matter how difficult it may be to grasp the concept that everyone, and almost everything, is going to die, it is a conclusion we will all eventually come to. For me, this notion struck me like hammer to a nail in the late afternoon on Friday, November 14th, 2008; the day my beloved grandfather passed away. This tragic event left me with more than just the memory of him playing cribbage or sitting at his desk, it left me a valuable lesson. Beneath the intrinsic value of his pocket knife, shoe lace, and handkerchief that occupy a small corner on my bookshelf, there is priceless moral. Denial and sadness is an undeniable reaction, but in the end it’s the shared smiles and memories that matter.
This cliché statement never really meant much to me until now. Of course the initial grief and feelings of regret clouded my mind during the mourning process of this event, but now I look back and smile upon the memories that my grandfather gave me. Why didn’t I go over to visit them more often? Why did I watch T.V. instead of play cards? These questions raced and rambled through my mind for countless days, until it dawned on me that they were distracting me from enjoying the pleasant recollections. The jokes, funny noises, card games, Christmas’, dinners; all of these memoirs I know he would want me to cherish forever. He wouldn’t want me to be mad at myself for passing up opportunities; he would want me to recollect his charades and the lessons he taught. He would want me to move on and be happy that it happened, not sad that it was over.
So I bear this in mind each time my heart gets heavy and eyes swell up. Sometimes it is too much to control, but I know deep down inside this is what he would truly want. Therefore, this is what I believe in. Never let the inevitable, yet depressing, events in life deter you from enjoying the finer aspects of it. Oh, and always make the rules of a game clear before you start, but that’s an entirely different story.
“Have Fun! Be Happy!”
– Grandad (1925-2008)
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