Appreciation

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“You never really appreciate something until you lose it.” My mom always told me this when I was younger. I would have toys that I lost and never liked them until I couldn’t find them. Now when I lose my cell phone or my iPod, I get the same feeling. But this quote goes far beyond the objects of every day. It goes miles past the toys from my childhood and the technology of today. I lost something that I can never get back. That something is more than just an object. That something is a someone, and I wish I would have appreciated him while I was with him.

I spent a lot of time with my grandpa when I was young. We have a really big family, but we are all spread out. My grandparents had nine kids and have over twenty five grandkids. I was one of the lucky ones because we live about ten minutes away from them, and we got to see them every Wednesday for dinner. As soon as I would get there, I would give them a kiss and a hug. Occasionally I would forget, though. My grandpa always said that I thought they were “old shoes” and that I “threw them away like old shoes.” But I never thought they were old shoes. When I spent the week in Florida after he passed, my grandma told me that he said I have become a very beautiful young lady.

I have two favorite memories with my grandpa. The first one is when we were having a family game night at his house. We played Mexican Train dominoes, which he won. He always won when we played games. No matter what game it was, he would always win. My grandma always said that the pen he would use is his lucky pen, and that was why he would always win. We had game nights all the time, but this one was particularly special. My grandpa taught me how to do his famous magic trick. He always got me with his trick. He would have me pick a card, and after doing some special things with the deck he would be able to tell me what card I picked every time. It would always blow my mind, but he finally taught me how to do it. After he taught me, I got to do the trick to him. He picked a card. I did the special things with the deck, and I successfully told him what card he had picked. I remember the smile on his face after I had done it, and I felt like I had finally won one of our games, even though a card trick isn’t a game. I always hold that memory close to me. My other favorite memory was when I went to a dance with him in Florida. One time we left to go to Florida a day earlier than we usually do, and we made it in time to go to a dance with my grandparents. My grandma and grandpa were great dancers, and they loved doing it. I remember watching them dance. They were having so much fun. I loved the way that they slow danced. He had one hand laying on her waist, and the other was holding my grandma’s hand to his heart. Towards the end of the night he asked me to dance with him. He danced with me just like he danced with my grandma. He held the small of my back with one arm and he held my hand to his heart. I remember that I could feel his heart beat. I don’t remember what song was playing, but I remember looking up at him and smiling. I always remembered this moment. I remember thinking that I wanted to dance with him like that when I got married, and that I wanted my future husband to be just like him. My grandpa was a very respectful and amazing man, and I hold my memories with him close to me.

Spring break is supposed to be like the intro to summer. Its a break from school where you get to go out and have fun. That was my plan when I headed to Florida with my best friend and my family. We were going to go to the beach, go to a produce store to get some authentic Florida oranges, play bingo with the old people, and we were going to visit my grandma and grandpa. My grandparents are, what we like to call, “snowbirds.” They spend the winter in Florida, because they don’t like the cold weather in St. Louis. We miss them through the winter, so we go see them in Florida for spring break. Plus, we love the Florida weather compared to St. Louis weather. I expected this to be the best spring break so far; little did I know, it would be the worst.

It went like every other spring break that I had. We drove for about one and a half days to get to Ft. Meyers, Florida. We were met by hugs from my grandparents as soon as we got there. We spent the night hanging out and playing games and such. The next day we ended up going to the beach. We spent the whole day hanging out in the sand. We had a picnic underneath a nearby tree. My grandma and my mom went for a walk down the beach after we ate lunch. My best friend and I took pictures and collected sea shells. My grandpa sat with my dad, and who knows what they talked about. We had a really good night. After spending the day at the beach we were all pretty tired, but we went and played Bingo together that night after dinner. Before we all went to bed that night we watched TV, and my grandpa ate jello. After he finished his jello he decided that he would go to bed, because he was pretty tired from our busy day. We all told him goodnight. That was the last night I ever got to hear my grandpa’s voice.

I wish I could say that I don’t remember much from what happened later that night, but honestly, the memories are so vivid in my mind it’s like it happened just yesterday. I don’t remember falling asleep, but I remember waking up. It was completely silent when I woke up, and I didn’t hear anything for a few more minutes. I just had this feeling–this sinking in my stomach–and I knew something was wrong. I heard my grandma call out to my mom. My mom got up and went to my grandmas room. I heard them calling out to my grandpa. “Dad,” “Ronald!” “Dad, wake up!” There was a pause. Then, “call 911.” That night and the next day was spent at the hospital, but there wasn’t much hope, because we knew he was going to die. He had an aneurism–blood clot–in the brain that ruptured, and there was nothing they could do to save him.

I got to spend so much time with my grandpa, much more than most of my other cousins, but I don’t feel like I appreciated that time with him. I saw him every Wednesday until they went to Florida for the winter. I visited them in Florida for my spring break. Plus, we did other random things together throughout the year. I always thought that going over to my grandparents house was a hassle, especially if I was tired. There were times when I would stay home saying that I have a lot of homework to do, even though I really didn’t. But now, I wish I didn’t do that. I wish I went there every time with a smile on my face. I wish I would have done more things with him and appreciated my time with him. I miss him like crazy, and I would do anything to get just one more hug from him. It all just goes to show, you really don’t appreciate something until it’s gone. And that sucks, because it hurts so much now that I don’t have my grandpa anymore. I can’t get that time back, but I want to relive it all. No matter what, I will keep my memories with my grandpa close to me. I may not have appreciated my time that I had with him in the moment, but I appreciate it now. I hold every memory close to me, so I can always keep him alive in my mind. My grandpa was an amazing man, and I’m glad I got to spend so much time with him before he passed away.





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