It Could All be Gone in the Blink of an Eye
December 13, 2006 changed my life forever. The day started off as a normal school day. It was when I got home that evening everything had changed. We lived in Boca Raton, FL but most of our extended family lived in the Midwest so we did not see them as often as we would have liked. That year my dad planned a family trip to Chicago over Christmas break so we could visit his brother, Dave, and his family. This reunion was only a week away and I was very excited to see my favorite person, my Uncle Dave.
Family has always been really important to me. I knew how much I loved them but never went out of my way to convey it. It is unfortunate that we do not have much family here in Florida. Whenever we travel to visit people up North my favorite stop was always Chicago. Uncle Dave always knew what to say to make me laugh. His outlooks on life always managed to change mine, and his mood was positive and uplifting. He was happily married to my Aunt Kathy and had two kids that are much older than me. He had a successful job as an English teacher at Niqua High school and always helped me with my homework. My Uncle Dave not only taught me punctuation and grammar but the most valuable lesson in the world without even knowing it.
When I arrived home on that cold December day, I knew something was wrong. None of my pets greeted me at the door, there was no “Hello, Honey!” and I did not smell dinner cooking like usual. As I walked past my parents’ room I noticed that my mom and dad were sitting on the edge of the bed. I walked over and my mom told me to sit down. In-between gasps my dad said, “Uncle Dave died this morning. He had a heart attack in his sleep and never woke up.” My mind went blank and my stomach dropped to the floor. My first thought was, “What were my last words to him?” I had no idea what I did when I last saw him. I had no idea what I had talked to him about. I felt like I had so much to tell him but now it was impossible.
From that day on, I have learned that the little conversations matter the most and the last words you say to a person are vital. I had never realized that everything was taken for granted, especially the lives of loved ones. I expected the people I cared for to always be there but now I know that can not be guaranteed. My personal life has changed after this experience. I never end a phone conversation without saying, “I love you.” I never leave the house without saying, “I will call when I arrive,” and I definitely do not go to sleep without clarifying my love. I have learned that I can not say that often enough and my family never gets tired of hearing it. If you think about it, it is scary to know that it could all be gone in the blink of an eye.