People have always told me to cherish those I love while they are with us, because you never know when something might happen to them.
I always thought this was true, but it didn’t really hit home for me until very recently.
Some of my favorite memories growing up are the times I shared with my grandmother. Even though she lived 3,000 miles away in western Massachusetts, I spent most of my Christmases and summers with her.
I woke up on Sept. 13 to my phone ringing. I would have been upset about someone waking me up but I knew what it was about and I knew who it was. I almost didn’t want to pick up the phone. I reluctantly answered with a somber hello.
I heard my mother’s voice on the other end of the line.
“She’s gone. She passed away this morning,” my mother said.
I remember the way she always fell asleep in the chair watching "Jeopardy" and how she always made me more food than I could ever eat. She always knew what to say to make me feel better and always wanted me to get up and learn to dance the polka with her.
My grandma had dementia and she was confused all the time before she died. She was moved into a nursing home a few months ago and celebrated her 90th birthday in June.
I am very grateful for the fact that she lived such a long and happy life, but the whole experience of her passing hit me much harder than I ever could have imagined.
Even though she lived as long as she did, it never crossed my mind she wouldn’t be here.
Her wake was the Friday after and I could not have been prepared for it if I tried to be.
A storm of friends and family approached me.
“You look just like she did at your age,” they said.
“You were her favorite,” they told me.
“She always loved when you would come to visit,” someone said as they hugged me.
The tears just started rolling and I couldn’t make them stop. I was her only granddaughter and she wanted so many things for me.
She wanted to see me get married, graduate college and become a successful journalist. I sent her clips of my stories often and she was always telling people how proud of me she was.
I shared many special moments with her, but in my grief I hope that others will learn to cherish those they love while they are still here.
We never think about life without those that we love the most. I see people living their lives constantly worrying about what they are going to have for lunch, or why they are so stressed doing all the daily things they have to do.
I hope people will take the extra time to tell those that they love how they feel about them, because you never know when the unexpected can happen.
The hardest part of losing my grandmother has been acceptance.
It was extremely upsetting to walk into her bedroom and have her not be there.
For all of my life she was the foundation for everything else.
She was just there — it didn’t matter what else was going on.
I was always the apple of her eye.
It’s hard to comprehend even now what it means that she is gone. At times the sadness is overwhelming, but I am comforted by the fact that she is no longer suffering.
Since she passed away all I keep thinking is that I should have spent more time with her. I should have made the time by either taking time off from school or from work this summer.
People become so involved in their daily lives that sometimes they forget to tell those people how they feel and to spend time with family while they can.
I hope others will cherish their loved ones while they are here. I know I wish I did a better job of telling my grandmother how much she meant to me.