Only Until It’s Gone

Rachel - Old Westbury, New York
Entered on March 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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A few years ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with leukemia. I never really knew much about my grandfather because we weren’t that close. When I was young, my mom would always drag me to my grandparents’ house. The times I spent with my grandfather were very boring and tedious.

When I did speak to my grandfather, it was always about very mundane things: how my siblings were, how school was, and how my parents were treating me. His questions were as common as dirt. Sometimes, during the hot summers, we would go for a walk in the park by his home. We would amble and he did try his best to start conversations with me. I never really opened up and just nodded as he spoke. The moments we shared weren’t so significant.

One night, I overheard my mother speaking to my father. She sounded sad, and out of curiosity I went downstairs and eavesdropped on their conversation. I was surprised to find out that my grandfather was seriously ill and was in the hospital. I started to feel a sense of guilt.

Two years later he passed away. I remember sitting at his funeral and feeling guilty because I wasn’t so close with him. I wish I had tried to open up to him, but it was too late. I now believe that you really never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. If I had the chance to be with my grandfather one more time, I would get to know him better.

Ever since my grandfather’s funeral, I have viewed life in a different way. I realize that people should always appreciate what they have now and never take it for granted. I’ve been applying this everyday. I always put an effort into spending time with the people who matter the most to me, my family. They’re my support system, and I appreciate everything they do for me. They listen to my problems, and always give me advice, and in return I do the same for them. I believe that one should never take anything for granted… especially family. They are the most important aspect in our lives.