Pawpaw, A Girl's Best Friend

Pawpaws Are A Girl's Best Friend

Even after eight years, it's still hard not having you here.

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On March 14th, 2011, I lost my best friend. My Pawpaw was my favorite person in the world, and I could never imagine life without him. We had "rituals" every week that he would come to see us and even when we would go see him. These plans that we made every week with him turned into a routine that I thought I'd never have to live without.

My favorite part of the week was always the weekend. This was because my Pawpaw would bring us bags of candy every week. Pawpaw would knock on the front door every, and we would race to see who got there first. He always gave the best hugs whenever he came in, and he always brought the best candy.

Even during Easter, we ate so many peeps that I've grown quite tired of them now. He never failed to make the bad days better, and even today I pick up some of the candy he used to bring us so that I can feel closer to him. After eight years, I still miss getting to see him every week.

Although Pawpaw would come to see us, we also went to his house to visit him. On most days we would pick up Wendy's and take it to him. I always worried about my Pawpaw because he would take all of his pills and do his insulin shots while my mom helped him.

We knew he was sick, but we never knew we would lose him so soon. I remember running around his trailer playing "It's time to kiss Jamie!" My sister and I would chase my brother around trying to kiss his cheeks. We loved every second we spent with him, and I never thought I'd have to live without him so soon.

In 2008, my Pawpaw moved to Utah to live with his son. Just knowing he was moving killed me. The weekly visits stopped as well as the weekend visits with candy. I remember him renting a Uhaul and us helping him pack it up. After he moved, we called him as much as we could, but it never felt the same.

He came back to visit a couple of times, but then his health got so bad he could no longer travel. At one point, my parents told me we were flying out to Utah to see him, but we couldn't afford it, so my mom just went. She stayed for a few days and about an hour after she got home, she had a phone call.

I remember her running out the kitchen door crying, and I knew what had happened. My parents, grandparents, and aunt and uncle came to our house that night, and we all stood in the kitchen sobbing for hours. I cried so hard I could barely stand up. Even after eight years, thinking about him still brings a tear to my eye.

On March 14th, 2011, I lost my best friend. I lost the person that I never thought I would lose. We always had so much fun with him that losing him never crossed my mind. Our routines made me understand how important the little things are in life.

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8 Things To Know About The 911 Dispatcher In Your Life

In honor of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

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For the first 18 years of my life, all I knew about 911 dispatchers was that they were the voice that came after the tone, from inside the pager on my dad's hip. The voice telling him where to go and for what. I had no idea after I turned 19 that I would soon become one of those voices. National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week this year is the week of April 14th-20th. I felt it appropriate to write my article this week focused on that, considering it is such a huge part of my life. For the rest of the world, it is just another week. For us, this is the one week out of the whole year that the focus is on the dispatcher, the one week where we don't feel so self-absorbed about saying what we do is nothing short of heroic. Here are some important things to know about the 911 dispatcher in your life.

1. We worry about you constantly

My biggest fear in this job is picking up the phone and hearing my loved one on the other end. No matter what the circumstance. The map zooms to the area of the county where my family and I reside, and my heart always sinks. I get a giant pit in my stomach because the very real reality is it may be someone I know and love. Don't be annoyed when we call you twice in one day or overly remind you to be safe. We are just always worried about our loved ones.

2. Our attention spans can be short

We are trained to get the pertinent information and details all within a matter of seconds. I can't speak for everyone on this, but I struggle a lot with paying attention when someone is talking to me, please forgive me if it feels as though I've stopped listening after a few minutes. I probably have. I've noticed that I listen very intently to the first couple minutes of a conversation and then my mind trails off. Nothing personal, just habit.

3. We have great hearing and listening skills

Most of us anyways. We can hear the person on the phone, the officer on one radio channel and the firefighter on the other, all at once. I have found that this skill comes in handy when trying to eavesdrop, also not as handy when you go out to dinner and can hear all five conversations going on around you. I have yet to master shutting that off when I am not at work.

4. We are hilarious

It could be a combination of using humor to deal with bad situations and spending twelve hours at a time in a little room together. But I think it’s that we are just freaking hilarious, nothing else to it. If you go the whole 12 hours without laughing, you're doing something wrong.

5. We have a very complicated love-hate relationship with our jobs

I love what I do, and I truly believe I was meant to put on that headset. Everything happens for a reason and my education plans out of high school didn't work out because I was supposed to be here doing this instead. I love what I do. I hate it sometimes too though. I remember specifically once taking a phone call about an hour before my shift was done. As soon as I got into my vehicle to go home, I bawled my eyes out and swore to myself that I was never stepping back into a comm center again. I hated my job with a burning passion that day. My next scheduled shift, I went back to work because I love it too. See, it doesn't even make sense it's just complicated.

6. We are tired

Believe it or not, this career can be incredibly exhausting. Someone once told me "You just sit at a desk for twelve hours, that can't be that hard." Physically that's right, we just sit there. Mentally and emotionally the first phone call of the shift can drain you and then you still have a little over 11 hours to go. I won't go into details on that but trust us when we say it was a bad call. We are tired. Some of my days off I just sleep all day not because I'm physically exhausted but because my mind needs that much time to recharge.

7. We are crazy

I really have nothing more to say other than no sane person would be a 911 dispatcher. We are all a little 10-96 in the best way possible.

8. We love harder than most

We love strangers we have never met, we love our officers that piss us off daily over the radio, and we love our co-workers that drive us nuts sometimes. It takes someone incredibly strong to save a life through the phone and someone even stronger to go back after they didn't. With that strength comes a weakness of vulnerability, we know our hearts will break more often than others, and we still continue to put on that headset to help others. The people with the biggest hearts work in a dispatch center. If you are lucky enough to be loved by one don't take them for granted.

The list could go on and on. Dispatchers possess so many skills and qualities that most people will never acquire in their lifetime. People think 911 and picture the police officer, the firefighter, the paramedic often completely forgetting the 911 dispatcher. For us, that's okay because other than this one week out of the year, we don't expect praise or thank you. When it comes down to it, we love what we do and we would do it no matter what.

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Sorry, But My Roommates Are Better Than Yours

They are the girls that have seen me both at my best and my worst.

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I never moved out for college until my junior year in college. It was a scary challenge for me because I was and still am so close to my family. I feared rejection and not fitting in with others, because I am aware of the fact that I am different than most girls my age.

The first few weeks in a house full of 16 other women was really hard and mainly lonely. I felt like I was trapped within myself, until the day I decided downstairs to do my homework. As I was sitting there, three girls slowly joined me and their names are Kortni, Zoey, and Destiny.

These women have become some of my closest friends. They each have taught me to adore the small and unexpected things that life brings our way.

Most of our "gals nights" consist of eating, mainly a carb (or 2) and watching funny tv shows. We sometimes might lookout nice and fancy and go eat Mexican food, but my favorite moments when are when we are just together.

I could never imagine having this college experience without them and it breaks my heart to know that we only have a few days left together of living in the same house.

Sometimes all I need after a day at school and work is to sit at the dining room table and vent to them. They have empowered me to do so many fun things over the past couple of months. I am certain that my life would be extremely boring without them.

I know that when we all move out that our friendship will not end, but instead it will be stronger. They have truly changed how I view things in this world. I hope they know how much they mean to me because their friendship is priceless.

Moving off to college can be scary, but it can be one of the most rewarding things a girl can do if you are surrounded by the right people. The friends you make in college are some that will last a lifetime, and I couldn't be more thankful for the ones that I have made thus far.

This letter is to my roommates who became my closest friends. Kortni, Zoey, and Destiny, you each mean so much to me and I hope you know how thankful I am for you each and every day.

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