This I Believe

Jessica - Lake Park, Florida
Entered on October 12, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Jessica Bradshaw

October 7, 2006

The most important lesson I’ve learned yet, is to never take loved ones for granted. Our time on earth is short, and nothing can last forever. Unfortunately there are no expiration dates to help us prepare for an ending.

I never knew my DNA donor because my mom had separated from him when I was only an infant. My mother struggled to make enough money to provide for me and my sister. The majority of our time was spent with our babysitter whom we loved. When I turned five I met a wonderful man, which I would later know as my dad. Eventually they married and I am now honored to carry his name. My father had one son and three daughters. When he met my mother his children were grown and either in college or had already graduated. My mom also had one son, but four daughters. I’m my mothers youngest and therefore only lived with my sister who is three years older. The rest of my siblings are substantially older.

I can clearly remember being quite young and frequently sitting on the “John” watching my dad shaving his face. He would use a brush to create a thick lather of cream and spread it over his face. I always watched him so intently. I recall how he would stretch his mouth around as not to miss any unwanted stubble. One day I said to him “You know dad I really like whip cream, do you think I would like shaving cream?” I’ll never forget how long he laughed. Then he warned me of the terrible stomach ache I was sure to get if I tried.

Every summer my mom, dad, sister and I would go camping for two weeks. We would usually go to different camp grounds in North Carolina. On every trip we made my dad would always find new adventures for my sister and I. One year while camping we found ourselves in the middle of a weak hurricane. My dad, as always, made the best of any situation. Needless to say we had fun and never knew we were anywhere near danger.

When I was in the eleventh grade my dad began to have mini strokes. He would work diligently with his physical therapist, just to be set back by another. My father suffered for three years before passing. Before his death my dad could not get up from the hospital bed in our house. He also had received all nutrients from a feeding tube in his stomach. It came to a point where my family and I prayed for God to either cure him or take him. Witnessing my dad’s rapid deterioration has left a lasting impression on me. The day he passed I was supposed to stay with him for my mom. When I had gotten home from work and heard the message from my mom I knew what had happened. I rushed to their house in time to see him before hospice had taken him away. The tears I had welling in my eyes made it look like he was still breathing though I knew he was not.

This world is filled with all kinds of people. Some are spectacular individuals that you encounter. When you meet such a person learn all you can. Take nothing for granted because you never know how long it will last; this I believe.