This I Believe

Lindsey - Arlington, Virginia
Entered on September 20, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem, death
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“This I Believe”

“They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot. Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Have you ever heard this song by Joni Mitchell? In my opinion, this song is meant to show people that they will eventually realize how much they miss nature, once it is all destroyed and replaced with city.

My mom comes from Canada, and her father (my grandpa) still lives about 2 hours north of the border of the U.S. Because of this great distance, my brother and I didn’t visit my mom’s side of the family too much. I’d still get my grandpa’s phone calls every Christmas and on my birthday, and his letters that were always signed, “Grampa + Natasha xox” (Natasha was his dog.) These things seemed small to me at the time and I know I took them for granted.

As my brother, dad, and I drove to Canada to attend the funeral of my grandpa, the death of him still had not really hit me. It wasn’t until I walked into his old house and realized that there was no one standing there with a smile and outstretched arms to greet me. It had finally hit me that he was really gone. A feeling of regret rushed over me as I recalled his visit to my house just over six months before his death. I regret not being as close with him, despite the distance. I would have sat more on the deck and talked about everything and anything with him, as he smoked a cigarette.

As my first Christmas passed without the usual phone call that began with,”What did Santa get you?”, I realized what I had taken for granted for so many years. I miss talking with him, receiving those letters that were always signed with, “Grampa + Natasha xox” and visiting him occasionally in Canada. Given the chance for my grandpa to be alive, I would gladly spend just a minute with him. Because people don’t know what they got till it’s gone. For this, I believe that people should cherish what they have, while they still have it.