I don’t think you understand how lucky you are. It is a privilege to be able to grow into an adult and still have all of your grandparents alive and well. Even if all four of your grandparents didn’t make it to your adulthood, having the majority of them around is something amazing that I can only fantasize about.
I was not as lucky. I was able to get to know all four of my grandparents, and for that, I am thankful every day. But, I still yearn for more time. I regret questions that weren’t asked and experiences that weren’t had. There’s so much more that could have been done in the time I had them here with me, and I only realized that when they were gone.
When I was nine, I was forced to learn at a young age what cancer was. I had to deal with the death of someone I loved at eleven years old and then again at twelve. My grandmothers both succumbed to cancer before I had even entered the eighth grade. Now, I learn more about them through stories that people tell me. I can remember them only in the few memories that have stuck with me through the near decade since they have left. But, I do not have the ability to ask them questions and get to know them better and have them get to know the adult I have grown into. I like to think that they would be proud of the person I have grown into.
Then again, when I was seventeen, I had to say goodbye to my grandfather. I learned something very valuable from his passing. The year prior, I had done a family heritage research project. I learned about him, his family, and his past. I realized there is so much knowledge in the history that our grandparents have experienced. They have seen wars that we have not, they have known family members that we never knew about, they have watched their children grow and become parents of their own, and they are more than willing to share all these stories with us if we are willing to listen.
But, the biggest lesson that I learned was to value every single person in your life because tomorrow is no guarantee. Today, I still have one grandfather, and in the last few years, he’s become more of a friend. He is someone who my entire family enjoys spending time with and looks forward to our days together. He has watched me grow from the moment I was born to an adult and college student. I have learned to value every single day together. Nightly phone calls are something that we both look forward to because we can’t see each other every day.
I'm lucky to have had all four of my grandparents touch my life in some way. They may not have been part of my life for long, but they were a huge part of my life while they were in it. I learned so much from them, as they helped me grow up. I miss them every day and so do many other people, but I know that I'm blessed to still have many years left to spend with my Pappy. All four of my grandparents were/are amazing people. I regret not asking more questions and learning more about them before they left. But, I'm happy to have gotten to know the loving people that I still remember today.
For those of you who have all or most of their grandparents, I envy you. You have an opportunity that I don’t: the opportunity to get to know four amazing people, to know their parents' names, and what schools they went to, and what they wished they had done differently when they were your age, and you have the chance to become their friend. Don't take a single moment for granted.Value every single day you have with these amazing people.