You Don’t Understand Till Its Gone

Audrey - Felton, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 1, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

You Don’t Understand Till It’s Gone

Audrey T

I believe in the power to understand what you have before its gone from your life (forever or otherwise). I want to cry and I want to laugh each and every time I knew I had something great in my life… but never reached out to take it and help it grow. I use to have a friend named Nikita and he was one of the greatest influences in my life. Through all kinds of decisions we were there for each other. He took the title of my big brother when there really was no one there for me at home.

Then he left…

He wrote to me after 3 months of silence. I felt abandoned by him and I almost threw away the package he sent me. But another friend (his later wife) told me to leave it.

So I did…

Eventually I opened it. Inside was a military uniform, a purple heart resting on top of a folded flag and burnt dog tags. In the bottom was the thickest letter I’ve ever seen. Nikita asked me to send these packages he was sending home to other families and if they didn’t have family he wanted me to keep them safe forever. And I promised him I would.

When he left for the 2nd time, I had to call him 2 weeks before he was to come home. I got no answer… The week before he was to come home I finally got my answer. I told him that his wife was dead along with my god child due to child birth complications. I then had to tell him that his sister had died the next day in a gang related death. He was silent and hung up the phone without another word. It tore me apart to have to tell him that.

Midnight I got a call, it was him, 2 days before he was to come home, struggling to talk. He said this to me and I will never forget these words, “Please stay with me… I don’t want to die alone.”

We laughed and cried together as we remembered everything… until I heard his last breath and another voice come over the phone and said this, “I’m sorry ma’am but he’s dead…” I don’t remember his words after that because all I cared to remember was the sound of his laughter and how truly alive he was still to me.

I got his last package and will 2 weeks after his death and I smiled without crying. Do you want to know why?

On top of his flag, in the very top part of the box next to his blood stained dog tags was a picture of the 4 of us together again.(His wife, his sister, him and me) And it is this understanding that makes me believe in remembering what we have in life even after its gone forever…