This I Believe

Jessica - Neenah, Wisconsin
Entered on June 6, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem

Unexpected Death

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.” (John Wooden) Everyone has the potential to make their life outstanding, it’s the decisions they make that predict the road they will be heading down. People stress over matters that eventually will mean nothing to them. It is unreasonable to do that because you don’t have forever to make the best of your life.

A few years ago my mom received a call from Sue: an old friend that she has known for ages. They had grown up together both participating in girl scouts, 4-H and sports throughout high school. They have always been best friends and rode their horses together when they were young. In the spring of 1997 Sue had a baby named Avalon, and my sister Jenna was also born. So just like my mom had grown up with her friend, Jenna was expected to grow up with Avalon. They were a perfect match, but then something unexpected happened. I was peeking over the stairway observing my mom; tears were streaming down her face. I just stared at her while she was hysterically crying, wondering what could possibly be wrong. Earlier that morning Avalon tiptoed into her parent’s bedroom. She whispered to her mommy in a weak tone that her tummy hurt. Then she crawled into her parent’s feathery bed and Sue took her daughter and gave her a bear hug. Then Avalon fell asleep in her mother’s arms. A few minutes later Sue noticed Avalon started to breathe awkwardly, then suddenly she took her last breath and gave a soft sigh of relief. Her pain had stopped and so had her life. With a rush of panic Sue stood up with Avalon still cradling her in her arms. She was shocked and started to sob. Her dad called an ambulance but by the time they got to the house nothing could be done. This four year old, beautiful little girl that was playing a few days before would no longer have a future. Avalon would never go to school, get married, or have a career. We found out later that she had a disease that she could have caught anywhere. She had received a shot for the disease but her body did not except the vaccine so she wasn’t immune to the disease like most people are after receiving a shot.

I learned many lessons from this little girl and she will never know the extent that she has inspired me. Life can leave so unexpectedly; you never know when it will be your last day here on Earth. If you don’t live your life to the fullest each and everyday you may eternally regret it. Some people get caught up in the past but there is no time for that, you need to live for the moment. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream for the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” (Siddhartha Buddha)

Avalon also made me realize what is genuinely important in my life. If at any time one of my family members or friends would die, I don’t want to regret how I treated them. Countless people around the world need to think about how their rash decisions and selfish acts are affecting others. I realized that it is irrational to fight when just discussing problems will solve frustrations. Controlling my emotions so that I don’t hurt others is an essential moral that I value.

If you had one last day to live what would you do? I want to live my life to the fullest. When my time comes I don’t want to cower at the decisions I have made in the past, I hope to be audacious while facing the future. Having adventures and making the best of everything helps a person carry through even the roughest times. My Great Grandma was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 35. She died a few months later because of a failed attempt at surgery. This strong woman left behind her husband and four little girls. My Grandma being the oldest at age eight had to take on an enormous responsibility. She had three little sisters to attend to and one was only two months old. My grandma has a great enthusiasm toward life and this responsibility helped shape her and make her the inspiration she is today to many people. She learned many lessons from her mother’s death that made her eager to achieve in this short life. My grandma is a phenomenal woman that grew up to be a nurse and teacher. “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”(Ralf Waldo Emerson)

Life can end like the blink of an eye. Taking advantage of the talents and gifts you have been given is crucial. Stressing over matters that are not important is an unreasonable thing to do because there is no time to waste in this short life, it can end so unexpectedly.