A Personal Narrative
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A Personal Narrative

A story about what I've learned from watching my great grandma decline.

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A Personal Narrative
Issy Martin-Dye

As the engine of the car jolted alive, the wooden bull rested in my palms as I stared down at it in disbelief. Just months before, I had spotted it in the musty basement of a vintage shop and knew that it would be the perfect present for my great-grandma. She valued the little treasure, as it brought a warm smile to her wise face after every glance in its direction. It was watching when she settled into our home that December, watching as we sat on the couch rolling dough for the warm Italian butterballs that gave her nostalgia, watching as she directed where the ornaments would swing on our bright pine tree. But it was also watching the first day that hospice arrived, watching on the frigid nights that blaring ambulances would roll up our driveway, watching as she would shriek in fear not to let her fall. Now, as we followed the hearse to the cemetery, I was left memories and reflections of what the bull and I had just seen.

"How could this be?" I wondered to myself as I sat there. Even though my great-grandma was 100 years old, in my young head she was invincible. I had just spoken with her a short week before and held her toasty, frail hand as she told me about the crosswords and cooks on tv. Now, the fact that she would shortly be 6 feet under with nobody to hug and comfort her killed me. From that point on, I began to hug a little tighter and talk a little longer to live every moment like it was my last. I no longer yearned to see the latest Netflix release but see how my family and friends are. My priorities started to rearrange and I began to chase after what the real meaning of life is. God became a big part of my life, and my new choices led to success in my pursuit of happiness. Silly things like money and popularity no longer matter to me since I had developed a broader perspective on life that knew that love is the only thing that matters. Because without love, what is the point?

I don't know that I would ever be able to undo the lessons that watching my great-grandma decline taught me. As my great-grandma became weaker and weaker, I became stronger and stronger. I realized what I can go through and how undeniably crucial it is to have people in life who love you. We have to be there at each other's sides when times get tough, because no time is guaranteed. As that little wooden bull watched my great-grandma take her last breath, I became the strongest version of myself. I vowed that I would live every moment like it was my last and never take a day for granted. I vowed to work hard for the goals that I set in life, because no one else would achieve them for me. I vowed that love would come first and that it would be what I strive for in all of my waking minutes. I learned to live in the moment because anything could be taken away from anyone at any time. Now, with my great-grandma only as a memory in our hearts, I only regret not doing more. Not baking more cookies, not visiting more museums, and not giving more hugs. There is never too much love that can be shown, and I now give my loved ones my everything. I've realized that in the end, I'll only regret the love that I didn't show and the opportunities that I didn't take. When I visit the cemetery now, I feel a sense of peace knowing that all of her pain is gone. She is resting peacefully in the kingdom of Heaven, and I'll have my memories with her and treasure them for the rest of my years.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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