You hear people telling you not to take things for granted throughout your life, especially as a youngster. As a kid, I was frequently advised that, but I usually disregarded it. One day when I was confronted with the tragedy of my uncle’s death, everything became clear. I disdained to ever take advantage of the love and family that I had in my life because they could all be gone in an instant.
My uncle was always such a fun-loving guy, always joking around and making everyone laugh. He would give you the shirt off of his back if he knew that you needed it. He was one of those people in life that everyone just loved to be around. His death was completely unexpected and hit our family like a ton of bricks. It just goes to show you that life is precious and can be taken from you at any moment.
I remember the day of his funeral like it was yesterday. My mother was a complete wreck, she could barely stand up or speak. I had never seen her so broken before. It made me realize that I needed to cherish every single moment that I had with her and my father because they could be gone in a flash.
Since that day, I have never taken my family or the time that I have with them for granted. I am so grateful for every single moment that I get to spend with them. Life is too short to not cherish the ones you love. So if you are reading this and you have somebody in your life that you love, make sure to tell them often and never take their presence in your life for granted. You never know when they might be gone for good.
It was September 12, 2008, a typical football Friday for Richlands High School, and I recall it as if it were yesterday. Before class was over, Mrs. Webb, our principle at the time, called over the public address system: “Chantell Cantrell, please come to the office you are checking out.”
I sat there for a second in disbelief like this can’t be happening to me, I just checked out of school. I hurried to the office not knowing what was going on, when I got there my Mother and step-father were waiting for me with a serious look on their faces. They told me that we had to hurry and get home because my little sister had been rushed to the hospital.
My Mother and I ran out of the school towards the car leaving my step-dad behind, we speed all the way home while my Mother called my Grandmother screaming and crying. When we got home, we went straight to my room where I packed a small bag with clothes for me and clothes for my little sister. We then rushed back out of the house to go meet my step-dad at the hospital.
When we got there, they wouldn’t let us see my little sister right away because she was in critical condition and they were doing everything they could to save her but eventually, they took us back to see her. When we walked into her room, I was hit with the smell of blood and machines beeping.
There she was laying lifeless with tubes coming out of her mouth and nose and IV’s in both arms. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, like the air had been knocked out of me, like I had been punched in the stomach. The last time I saw my sister she was running and playing just like any other 5-year-old but now she was fighting for her life.
My Mother and I stayed at the hospital day and night until eventually, my sister pulled through. After that day, I realized that I took a lot of things for granted, like my Mother, Father, and most importantly life. That day changed my perspective on a lot of things and made me realize that life is too short to take anything for granted.
I was bewildered as to why I was being examined, so I gathered my belongings and left the clinic. When I opened the office door, Melissa, Dad’s secretary, greeted me with a feeble smile. I inquired of her what she was doing there and if everything was okay. She embraced me and nodded her head, telling me that she had come to take me to my mother and father in Grundy. In my mind, something was definitely wrong, but Melissa would not tell me anything.
On the drive to Grundy Melissa told me that my mother had been diagnosed with cancer and that it was aggressive. My father had taken a leave of absence from work to take care of her. I asked Melissa to please hurry.
When we arrived at my parent’s house I could see my father through the window. He was sitting in his chair with his head in his hands. I rushed into the house and into his arms. He hugged me tight and started to cry. I had never seen my father cry before and it scared me.
My mother was lying in her bed asleep when I walked into her room. She looked so frail and weak. I sat down next to her and took her hand in mine and cried. I stayed with my parents for a week until my mother passed away.
Losing my mother was the hardest thing I have ever been through in my life. I was so angry with God for taking her away from me. I did not understand why this had to happen. I was lost and did not know how to go on without her.
My father was a wreck after my mother died. He could not eat or sleep and he barely left the house. Melissa would come over every day to check on him and she would bring me food because I had lost weight and was not eating either.