I will never forget the spring of the year 2001. My cousin, Tavis, took a break from traveling with his college friends to be home with our family for my cousin’s upcoming wedding. Every day during spring break I would help bake at my aunt’s house and spend time with him because it was rare that we were able to see each other. We grew to be very close and I loved talking to him. No surprise, Tavis and I were placed at the same table at the reception along with my brother and other relatives. An up-beat song began to play and Tavis asked me to dance. I was so shy that at first I did not want to. Finally, I said yes and laughed the whole time because I got to see how funny of a dancer he was. It grew late and my parents wanted to leave. With all of the commotion going on, I did not get to say a formal good-bye. Earlier that night he told me he would be leaving town the next day. At first I was upset, but soon realized it was fine because I would see him in a few days when he returned from his camping trip in New York.
Shortly after he left, my aunt received a call saying that Tavis took a small boat out on Lake Seneca with a friend and neither of them returned. The next morning the body of the girl washed up to the shore, but Tavis’ body was still not found. Neither of them could survive the brutally cold temperature of the water. After years of searching, all that was discovered of Tavis was one of his boots that he wore that night.
I believe in cherishing every moment that you spend with the people you love. You never know what may happen and you always want them to know that they are special to you. I am thankful for all the memorable times I spent with Tavis before his life was taken away. I think about him often and could not imagine if I would have told him no a silly little dance that I was embarrassed to do. Now, that dance, that moment, is one I will always remember.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.