Carpe Diem

Summer - Harrisonburg, Virginia
Entered on February 27, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in “carpe diem”. Carpe diem literally means “seize the day.” But to me, it means live every day to the fullest, like it was your last. I believe in carpe diem because of a tragic event that happened that changed the way I look at life.

It was a normal Saturday night. I was at home relaxing with my family, and my older brother was working. He was grounded at the time and was only allowed to leave the house for work. That night when he should have been getting off, he called and in a very solemn voice he told me to give the phone to our mom. I could tell something was wrong. After giving our mom the phone, she said, “NO! You know you are not allowed to go anywhere else but work, get home NOW!” Then the whole situation changed. As I watched my mom’s eyes fill with tears, I knew something terrible had happened

The dreadful news that my brother had told our Mom was that his best friend David may not make it through the night. David was just like another big brother to me, and part of our family. My Mom and I, along with other close friends of David’s, met up so everyone could be together, pray and hope for a phone call that brought good news. The phone call came. It just wasn’t the one everyone had been praying for.

On November 5, 2005 David Alan Pickeral died. David was a senior in high school, had a brilliant future and was only 5 days away from his 17th birthday. David actually died doing what he loved; playing soccer. David had played soccer since he could walk. That Saturday during a soccer tournament, David collided with another player. They hit at the exact moment when David’s heart was in the relaxed state. Because of the impact, his heart just never started beating again. The doctors were able to start his heart again but by that time he was already brain dead. His parents knew that he would not want to live his life like that so they had to make the hardest decision they have ever had to make and let their son go.

David never had a day that he wasn’t doing something that made him happy. David didn’t know when his last day would be, but he still lived every day to the fullest. This horrific event reminded everyone that even the youngest, brightest lives can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Even though David’s life was tragically cut short at the young age of only sixteen, his death inspired not just me but his family and friends to live life to the fullest, be happy and do what you love because you never know when your time is up. And because of this, I believe in “carpe diem”; go and seize the day.