I like to think that I live my life with no regrets. I go with the flow and do things that I want to do and I’m happy with myself, but I do have one thing that I regret and that’s not going to see my grandfather before I left to start my undergraduate career. He died a week after I left for school and it still kills me to this day.
My relationship with my grandfather was very strong at a young age. My dad would take my siblings and I to our grandparents house, which was about 30 minutes from my house on a good day. Grandpa was very tall, well when you’re 4 or 5, everyone looks like a giant. I loved going to their house, grandpa would always ask me about school because he knew I was the nerdy one. He also used to ask me to show him the latest dance moves I learned or play him a song on the piano and I was so proud to do so. I think I was the favorite grandchild, but don’t tell my siblings that. My favorite part of the trip to my grandparents house was that ball of money that would end up in my hand when it was time to leave.
Eventually, after my dad moved, the trips to my grandparents house were few and far between. We were only able to over when our dad came down to visit, which wasn’t very often. When I was in high school, I met one of my grandfather’s sisters at my church. She would keep me updated on how he was doing and also how my grandmother was doing. The last time I saw either of them, it was rough. My grandmother was very sick and she couldn’t remember any of us. She didn’t remember her three children, she barely remembered her grandchildren, but she somewhat remembered her husband. I just stood there silent because I really don’t know how to deal with my sadness. I’m so afraid of seeing someone I love hurt and in pain so I just try to avoid them and that’s what happened.
My grandaunt told me in April of my senior year that my grandpa was very sick and that I should make haste to see him. That would give me four months to see him before I left for college. But of course since I hate seeing people in a position where they can’t help themselves and I can’t do anything to help them, I made every excuse in the book. I was going to see him after I graduated, but a lot was going on. School orientation, vacation and my own personal issues that I was dealing with. None of that should have been an excuse for a 30 minute visit.
August came and nothing was on my mind except for the fact that I was going to be 18 years old and I was moving to Albany for school. By this time I forgot that there were issues and things that I needed to tend to.
I was almost finished my first week of undergrad and I was hanging out in my dorm with my high school friends when I got the call. I knew something was wrong because my dad never calls me. He told me that my grandfather died and all I could do at the moment was say okay and hang up the phone. It took about ten seconds for it to kick in and then I exploded. My friends know me as the tough girl, I never cry (in front of them), I’m always laughing, etc. So when I started crying they knew that it was serious and that they had to come console me.
His death tore me up for weeks, but in the end it was a learning experience for me. I would never again put myself before anyone of my family members or close friends when they are in dire need. I miss him dearly, but I know everyday that I am making him proud.