This I Believe

Abbey - Kansas City, Missouri
Entered on April 15, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death
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Life Is Too Short

For the fifteen years that I have lived, I’ve learned that in every instance, life is too short. I believe that no matter how long you live, life is always going to end up short. Life is extremely short for the intelligent high school teen that passed out one night and never woke up. Life is very short for the 40-year-old mother with four children who found out she had cancer and refused chemo. Life is short for the 75-year-old man who thought he had lived his life fully until cancer was found and he only had three months to live.

That 75-year-old man was my grandfather: my anal retentive, stubborn, hilarious, hard-working, amazing, loving grandfather. He lived a fairly long life, but when those test results came back from the hospital, it changed his perspective for the next three months. Not caring for Christmas music or people visiting before, my grandfather soon grew to love things he took for granted in the past, living. Sitting in his brown recliner in the computer room he asked, “Dorothy, where’d the Christmas music go?” Surprised, my grandmother soon downloaded a few Christmas songs on iTunes and as my family put Christmas decorations up all around the house, he sat there grinning and stated, “I am so happy, I could cry!”

His childish side came out as the weeks passed and even small things made him smile, such as his Hokey Pokey Elmo he received on Christmas and his family’s touch (which included his beloved, two golden retrievers). Staring into my grandfather’s old, wise eyes, I finally realized that he loved his family more than anything in this world. He did everything to make his grandchildren smile; even if it meant letting me put his hair in curlers or purposely hiding toys in the forest to have my brother find them. As the days passed, he got worse and worse. He got to the point where he could no longer communicate with us or the hospice nurses. The only thing I knew to do is to hold his hand and tell him that I loved him more than anyone in the entire universe; and frankly, that’s the only thing any of us could do.

I believe that my grandfather lived a fulfilling life and he believed that also until his diagnosis. He wanted to call every person he ever knew and tell him he was sorry for a grudge he had held for forty years. He wanted the whole family over for holidays and neighbors to come and visit; when before, he never wanted people wondering around the house. As he was dying, his outlook changed for the better. But in my eyes, he had always been perfect.