You Don't Know What You Have Until You've Lost It

February 27, 2010
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“You don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it is definitely up there on the list of those super cliché sayings, but it’s true." I try to look up at the audience that is my family every sentence or so. "We enter this cold, harsh world so unaware and vulnerable. When we are young, everything tastes so sweet. The hardest decision is choosing what color crayon to draw with. With all of the decisions we make, with that crayon, we draw the map of our lives. Each child chooses a different color, a different path to take in life. To succeed, or not to succeed?" I glance at my baby brother, like I’m posing the question to him, hoping he’ll answer correctly in his head. "To aspire to be great, or not? The choice lies in the hands of the individual, and it’s never influenced." The snow outside the church falls faster. "As we mature, our choices seem to peak. Time seems as if it is going by twice as fast. As we grow old, the crayon comes to the edge of the paper. The road on the map begins to end, and for my father, it ended today." A tear streams down my sisters face, and suddenly I wish I wasn’t up here making this speech. I just wanted to go home and lay in bed. "We say our last goodbyes to the ones that have touched our lives and altered the paths we have taken. We close our eyes, stop our hearts, enter a new life, pick a new crayon, draw a new map." Dad’s drawing his map now, and I wish I was up there with him, helping him. "Although we are physically dead, our body no longer exists, our souls live on forever. Energy can not be created, nor destroyed, as scientists say, but love can."

I step off of the podium. The whole church claps for my speech that I had written the night before in about fifteen minutes on a piece of scrap paper. I carefully step down the stairs to go sit next to my mother. The priest continues the service, the church sings songs. I have my prayer book open, yet I stare at the wall in front of me, mumbling some words every once in a while. Suddenly, my mother nudges my elbow, signaling me to stand up like everyone else. As I walk down the aisle, I stare at the stained glass windows my father always used to admire every Sunday at church. My mother touched my shoulder, “Button that coat,” she said, “it’s freezing out.”

I did as I was told. Together, we walked down the concrete stairs in the front of the church. I tightened my black scarf around my neck once I felt the cold. Everything I wore that day was black. Everything that anyone wore that day was black. Why do we wear black at funerals? I understand that a funeral is a sad occasion, but why don’t we celebrate someone’s life at their funeral rather than grieve about their death? Why don’t we all dress in vibrant colors to honor the person who has died? I glanced down at my black snow boots. I knew that deep down under them, my bright yellow socks shined. They were my secret, the only thing that gave me the confidence to make that speech today. I had hope, I had faith, I was keeping my father’s love alive.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Holly M. said...
Mar. 23, 2010 at 9:35 am
This is beautifully sad..... (If that makes sense??)
I'm so sorry about your dad....
lliillyy replied...
Mar. 23, 2010 at 7:25 pm
thank you so much! it's actually fiction though, but thank you!
Holly M. replied...
Mar. 25, 2010 at 12:46 pm
That makes it even better then :D
well done :)
lliillyy replied...
Mar. 25, 2010 at 7:37 pm
thank you! (:
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