If Today Was Your Last Day

January 11, 2010
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When tragic events occur, they make one rethink life and stop taking simple things for granted. I never really appreciated how valuable life was until the day I received the terrible news. I was only five years old at the time, but I remember this day as clear as a crystal glass of water. It all started on a hot summer day in July of the year 2001.
“What’s happening Aunt Chris?” I asked curiously when I was told to stay downstairs. I thought to myself, “Why is everyone crowding in Grandma and Papa’s room, and who are these guys coming in our house with cool outfits on?” The ambulance had come, and the paramedics were there in their uniforms to see what was going on, and if they could help.
After awhile of trying, they could not wake up my grandpa, so he was rushed to the hospital. I saw Papa being carried out on a stretcher with my mom, grandma, and other aunt quickly following. I was still so confused about what was happening, and why everyone was leaving. Me being only five years old I still did not understand certain situations. At this point I was completely clueless to what was wrong with my grandpa.
I asked my aunt again, “What is going on? Where are Grandma, Aunt Mary, and Mommy going?”
This time Aunt Chris responded with only saying, “Ask your mom to explain it when she gets back sweetie.”
When I was finally told what happened that night I was so crushed. Even at the age of five, losing Papa meant a lot to me. I did not understand why he had to leave, and where was he going? We had so many great times together, and memories that will last a lifetime.

Papa was such an amazing guy! He loved everyone, was passionate, funny, and full of life. He would always make an effort to play games with my cousins and me. A few of his favorite games we played together were Clue, and playing cards. We collected coins together and tried to get one from every state. He was so goofy, and would do silly things to make us laugh. I remember one time he put a napkin on his head at the dinner table, and would say, “Do you like seafood?” Then he would open his mouth and say, “See! Food!” Papa loved entertaining, and having family and friends come over for parties. He was the best host, and could talk to anyone. Over all, Papa was an extraordinary man, and I wish we had more of those simple, but memorable times.
When my grandpa died, everyone was obviously completely devastated, but the way I looked back at it, I focus on three things. First, that he was a great guy and he brought joy to everyone’s life. He was easy to get along with, and never said no to any favor that was asked of him. I also think about how he is in a better place with God, and some day in the future I will be joining him. Last, but not least, Papa’s death starts thoughts to spread through my brain like a forest fire. Thoughts such as, “You never know when it is your last day,” and, “Would you want to leave life knowing you left it the way it is now?” Papa died very young, and it was a shock to all of us.
“Even if you knew tomorrow was your last day, would you forgive your enemies? Would you live each moment like it is your last? There is no second try to life, and you cannot relive any moment in time.” As these questions zoomed through my head, I realized from then on, I would be looking at life in a whole new perspective. I now go through life thinking that each day is a gift and not a given right.

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