This Is Your Sign to Stop Taking Life for Granted

Losing my grandma, almost two years ago, was easily the biggest challenge I have ever faced, both emotionally and physically. My family and I were caught completely off-guard when she left my house in an ambulance, minutes after experiencing what the doctors later described as convulsions and losing her speech almost immediately.

She was, is, and will always remain the strongest, most lively person I have ever known. She was the most active and independent person of her age I have ever met — she loved cooking and spoiling her children and grandchildren with delicious food. She loved sewing and learning new things; she did not rest until I taught her how to send text messages. I think about her and her love for living every day.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.

And I often wish I could tell her how I appreciate the braveness in the way she fought when everything she was once able to do was taken away from her and a hospital bed became her home. I wish I could tell her how sorry I am that I didn’t spend more time with her and that we didn’t bake enough cakes together. I wish I could explain to her how she is my greatest example of strength and persistence; how the way she struggled with every cell in her body, at 79, to say my name after losing the ability to speak (and succeeding to do so in the end) is one of the most admirable things I have ever witnessed.

I wish I could tell how terrible it is that we had to say our last goodbyes through a window mid-pandemic; that the last time I held her hand — wrinkled, rough, sculpted by the toughness of her own life and of every little cruelty she’s been through since childhood, but somehow still soft and warm enough for me to feel the comfort I used to feel when I was a child in her arms, was right before she got into an ambulance and the sirens started to ring.

I wish I could thank her for fighting until her last breath, for not wanting to go, for not wanting to leave us.

But I can’t.

I do not write this for sympathy.

I write this because this tragedy opened my eyes in the harshest, coldest way possible — and I hope it does the same to everyone who needs it.

It’s crazy how often we underestimate the power of action, words, and thoughts. It’s even crazier how often we take for granted (even unconsciously) small things such as listening to pretty songs and admiring pretty sunsets, the softness of the human touch, and the warm embrace of a loved one. Because even though these things are expected to be there by the next day and, let’s face it, there is a high chance that they will, it doesn’t eliminate the small possibility that they won’t. And that’s what we need to learn to focus on — the uncertainty and unpredictability of life, the ability to look back without regrets. To let go of “what ifs”.

Tell your people how much you love them.

Hug. Kiss. Cry. Laugh. Look at the stars at night. Realize how beautiful our universe is and how lucky you are to call it home. How the moon you look at today is the same moon William Shakespeare used to write about. Learn. Love yourself. Fail. Love yourself even more because that’s when you truly need it. Try again. Succeed. Be brave, be courageous. Be determined. Be kind. Be generous. Be genuine. Let yourself heal and evolve. Understand that the clock never stops ticking and that there is no “right time”, only time and what you do with it.

Your life is yours. Don’t waste it imagining “ideal” scenarios. Pay attention to what is unfolding right before your eyes. Take it before it expires. And make it a very beautiful one for yourself, no matter what it takes.

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