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Devastating occurrences have the ability to completely alter the ways in which you live your life. When these certain situations occur, you have two choices: You can let them destroy you, or you can let them strengthen you. My outlook on life was completely changed when my kind hearted grandmother passed away when I was just a child. I was struck with the realization that life can be taken away in an instant and I need to cherish every moment I have left I this world.
In early November of 2006, I was sitting in my choir class listening to my teacher describe the scene a horrific car accident she witnessed the day before. As she was explaining the details of the accident, I was feeling little pangs of sorrow for the victims who were unable to walk away injury free. As we carried on with our class, I couldn’t help but think about how miserable their family and friends must be feeling at that exact moment, they didn’t even see it coming. I soon shook the thoughts from my head and made my way to my next class.
While walking down the hallway, I feel my newly purchased flip phone vibrate in my purse and the text I receive from my mother was rather unsettling:
Honey, I have some bad news. I reply back asking her what she was talking about, and although I was a little nervous, I didn’t try to dwell on it too much. I only assumed that she wasn’t going to buy me a new pair of Buckle jeans that I was eyeing at the time, so I swallowed my disappointment, and carried on with my morning. Thoughts of not owning those beautiful pair jean were going through my head as my phone vibrates with another text that made me stop dead in my tracks: Grandma was in an accident today. She’s in the hospital with severe injuries and they think she has brain damage. A wave of emotions washed over me and my mind couldn’t stop racing. I always heard about this sort of thing happening to people I didn’t know, people I didn’t care about. Never in a million years did I imagine that my own grandmother would be put in this situation. For once in my life, I was completely speechless.
Over the next couple weeks, my grandma’s progress was a roller coaster. Some days she was barely able to open her eyes and move her fingers, and other days she was motionless. One day the swelling in her brain would worsen and the next day it would decrease. There weren’t any clear answers explaining if she was going to be okay or not. We were all holding on dearly to a sense of hope that was keeping us together.
Towards the last couple days of her life, my grandma’s progress seemed to have gotten better. The swelling in her brain had decreased a great amount and I was told that it was very possible that she would be able to recover. A wave of a relief washed over me and the grasp I had on hope tightened. I truly believed that she would recover and we would have our caring, loving grandma with us again. The thoughts of her recovery were clogging my mind and I completely forgot that even though there was indeed the possibility of her recovery, the possibility of her death was still apparent.
On November 28th, I was woken up by my mother and father informing me that my grandma had passed away that morning. Initially, I didn’t feel any sort of emotion. I was stuck in a daze that I couldn’t get out of. Part of me even believed that this was all a dream, and that I was going to wake up with her smiling face still in this world.
Throughout the day, the numb feeling went away, and was replaced with sadness and sorrow. I replayed every memory I had with her in my head while hot, salty tears ran down my cheeks. In that moment, I would have given anything to have her alive and well, baking Christmas cookies with me like we did every year. She didn’t deserve to die and we didn’t deserve to feel this pain. Deep down I knew she was in a better place, a place where she wouldn’t have to feel the pain she felt in this world before she passed. This thought alone helped me and many others get over the fact that we lost our dear grandma.
They always say that you need to live your life the fullest; you never know when your time is up. My grandma was the perfect example of a barely 60 year old woman who’s last years of her life were cut short. She made sure that she lived every day to its full potential, and she cherished every moment. Ever since the morning that she died, I made a promise to myself to never let a day go by where I don’t appreciate and love the life I live. Although life is difficult, it is still so very beautiful.