I was in 5th grade when my great-grandfather passed away. It was the first time I went through something so devastating and so unexplainable. For a 10-year-old, I did not know how to react or what to say. All I could do was cry. And although I have grown 10 years wiser, I still never know what to say or do when a loved one passes on, except cry.
When I found out my grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was fading fast during the fall of 2015, all I could do was cry. How was my grandmother, the one whom I had called just a few days before, passing on? She had just finished chemotherapy and was feeling better than ever, yet the cancer had other plans.
The same night my dad called with the news, I sat in the Korver Field bleachers, crying and wondering why something so awful and nasty could happen to someone who was so beautiful, not only to me but to everyone she met.
I was able to fly home in time to talk to her one last time. It is one of the hardest things in the world to say goodbye to someone you love and care about so deeply. It was hard to find words to describe how I truly felt. She was such a great grandmother to me, and such a great friend. She always called me on Sunday afternoons, filling me in on the latest movies she had seen and the last book she had read. She made being so far from home so much easier by sending a monthly care package with some food money, a box full of candy and some dorm food. She was a constant in my life that seemed to make the bad weeks a million times better with a simple phone call.
As I stood there talking to my grandma for the last time, I told her how amazing and special she was to me and how she will always have a special place in my heart. Most importantly, I told her how much I loved her.
After my grandmother passed away, I still found it hard to believe. I felt like I did when I was 10 years old, feeling hopeless and stunned at what was almost unexplainable. But, as time has passed, I have been able to take something away that I know is so incredibly important.
No matter what, cherish those moments with loved ones. Cherish the small memories, the phone calls, the Christmas dinners. Cherish it all because you truly never know when those last moments will be. And, whenever you find yourself saying goodbye to those that you love, remember to tell them you love them. Those three words, no matter how simple they can be, mean the world to the ones you say it to.