If Tomorrow Never Comes

January 13, 2009
By Amanda Schlesner, Nashotah, WI

December 4, 2008. The day that will be seared into my mind forever. That was the day my world was turned upside down. I can remember every detail as if it is happening right this very moment.

Sitting on the couch, watching my parents fidget nervously across from me, I never expected that in only a few seconds they would devastate me beyond belief. Time seemed to stand still. 9:32 p.m. One minute everything was fine, and the next my parents were telling me that my grandpa was dead. I was in shock, utter disbelief. It hit me like a sucker punch to the stomach. It felt like someone had ripped my heart right out of my chest. I was instantly blinded by tears. My heart came pouring out my eyes.
Two hours in the bathroom, and a box of tissues later, I made it to my room. Hours passed and the tears continued. Somewhere in between crying and gasping for air, I must have fallen asleep. The annoying buzz of the alarm came promptly at 6 a.m. after what felt like only minutes of rest. I hoped it was all just a dream, some kind of twisted nightmare that I could escape from. It wasn’t.

The next three days were more than any of us could handle. My aunts were complete wrecks. My eyes we so puffy they might as well have been swollen shut. I had never known that this kind of pain existed. This wasn’t the first time we had dealt with death, but I was too young to really understand it before. This time was different though; it was so unexpected. I had seen him just one week before at Thanksgiving. He seemed happier than he had been in a long time. He laughed and joked and talked to everyone. It was hard to believe that he was really gone.

They told us that he went quickly; a heart attack, they said. He didn’t feel any pain. I hope to God that’s true. He couldn’t have known it was coming. He had just bought groceries. He had plans. A few weeks before, he had ordered chocolate covered pretzels for everyone as Christmas gifts. They arrived at his house the day he died. He thought he had more time. We all did.

Through all this tragedy and sadness, my grandpa has taught me one final lesson. We can make as many plans as we want, it doesn’t mean we are guaranteed a future. Take advantage of what you have now before it’s too late. You may live to be 100, but you may also only live until tomorrow. There is no way of knowing when our time will come. So smile often and laugh whenever possible. Today is all we are given. No one can promise that tomorrow will come. And if today is all we have, live it to the fullest. Don’t waste a single second because it might just be your last.

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