Realize what you have before it’s gone…

6 Nov

Last night I was requested to Bartend at a private party.  This particular event was a very elaborate Housewarming party for a really nice family that was very excited to be settled into their new home (which was HUGE), and of course, share it with their friends and family.  They invited loads of guests, had tons of food and alcohol, a DJ, servers, valet,  you name it.

The party started fairly early and by midnight it was still going hard.  Belly dancers were about to come out and put on a show when the unfortunate happened; The host’s mother passes out and experiences a stroke.  Immediately they got on the phone with 911/Rescue and did all they could to keep her alive until the medics arrived, and even then they had to pump her chest and do God knows what to try to make sure she was getting enough oxygen.

Long story short; Grandma is gone.

I was the last of the help to leave.  I had to wait for the host and the rest of the guests to leave so that I could go back into the yard to gather up my equipment.  There I had a talk with the host’s daughter, who is my age.  She is a sweet woman, and was mourning, of course.  And as she vented she said a lot of things that I too felt when my grandfather had passed away: “All the times she called me and I didn’t pick up because I was too busy.  All the times she invited me over and I didn’t go.  And now she’s gone and there’s nothing I can do to fix that.”

My grandfather, Abuelo Rey, passed away about four years ago.  I still cannot see a picture of him or even talk about him without tearing up or just all-out balling.  Even now, writing this, I can’t help but cry.  His death is one that I accepted when it happened.  He was sick and regressed fairly quickly in last two years of his life, so I knew that when it was his time it was his time.  It was for the better and I accepted that.  But what I did not accept or forgive myself for was the fact that I had barely been around for those last two years of his life.

I honestly used to blame it on the boyfriend that I had at the time.  Though I loved him very much, he was a very selfish person so we only ever did what he wanted to do, when he wanted to and how.  We spent a lot of time with his family, but barely any with mine.  I made countless plans to go see my Abuelo and Abuela, but at the last minute he never wanted to go so I’d give them another excuse as to why I wasn’t going over to see them.

I do realize now that my partner was in no way the blame of my absence.  Though these actions did contribute to his selfishness, the ultimate decision to go or not go was mine.  I didn’t have to rely on anyone but myself to go spend time with my family.  If he didn’t want to come with me, well that should have been his loss and his loss alone.  Instead, I allowed it to be mine as well.

And though I feel in my heart that this doesn’t matter, because while he was in his coma in the hospital, not responding to ANYONE, he responded to ME.  Once his eyes closed, he never opened them again, but when I went to see him, I sat down on the bed next to him and I held his hand.  I held his big, almost lifeless hands and I leaned over and softly spoke into his ear.  I told him that it was me, and that I was sorry for not having come over all the times I said I would and that I knew I was a horrible granddaughter, but I loved him very very much.  And as I spoke I felt his hand starting to tighten up, tighter and tighter.  Once I gave him a kiss on his cheek he gave me one last tight squeeze and then that was it.  He passed away a few day later without having responded to anyone else.

Because of that, part of me feels forgiven, but it still weighs heavy in my heart no matter what.  I still remember everything about my last visit to his house and I remember his voice as clear as day.  I miss him so much, and I really wish he were still around.  But alas, thinking like that will never make a difference so what’s the point?

I guess what I’m just trying to get at here is that you should never take anyone for granted.  Age doesn’t matter; I’m not only talking about the elderly.  You never know if today could be yours or anyone else’  last day, no mater what age.  I’ve also lost young friends to very unfortunate circumstances, but their stories would require a whole entry of their own.

Just, don’t ever put off for tomorrow what you could do today.  Always follow through when you tell someone you’re going to see them or spend time with them.  And never be afraid to tell someone you love them when you know you do.  You never know when it will be your last chance to do so, and once that chance is gone, there is no getting it back.  In life and death there are no do-overs.

16 Responses to “Realize what you have before it’s gone…”

  1. marcela November 6, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    so true. really hit home this week. my mom lost her battle with cancer on wed and even though i was there for her most of the time, i was absent for most of her last weeks on this earth. i will never forgive myself for it. thanks for this, it really made me happy to see i wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

    • emilysixxrants November 6, 2011 at 11:45 am #

      I’m really sorry for your loss mamita. Losing a loved one is never easy, much less a mother. I hope that you will hold strong and not beat yourself over this for too long. I know it’s easier said than done, but I’m sure she knew how much you love her.

  2. nikkix2 November 6, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Well written,,now, I’m going to go call my Grandma and Grandpa, and make those xmas arrangements I was putting off.
    Thanks Emily 🙂

  3. Stan Webb November 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    You might find some interest within the Order of The Good Death website:

  4. nothingprofound November 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    What a sad thing to happen at what was supposed to be a festive occasion. The death of a loved one is almost invariably tied up with regrets, especially when it’s sudden as in this case. I guess it’s just too painful to think about that eternal separation until it actually happens and then it’s too late.

    • emilysixxrants November 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

      I’m sorry for your loss, but she was very fortunate to have you with her til the end. You are definitely lucky to not have these regrets. It’s like being imprisoned in your own mind.

  5. Angie Alaniz November 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    Hi Emily,

    I’m sorry you had to go through that. Its never easy losing a loved one especially when theres so close to you. I think many of us feel guilty after they are gone because we might have not given then the full attention that they might of needed at the time. But the truth is, when you love someone like that, even though you aren’t there all the time, they know they still have your heart.
    I think it says a lot that your Abuelo responded to you before he said good-bye.
    I am sure he knew you were there and more then likely was waiting for you to be able to let go. So, you see, you were right there when he really needed you. 😉

  6. Angie Alaniz November 6, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    PS: Your post was very touching. It did make me think as I’m going through that now with my elderly Mom. Patients are much needed during this time on this end and your post helped me remember that. Thank you for sharing your story with us.


    • emilysixxrants November 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

      Hi Angie,

      Thank you for reading this entry and thank you for your kind words.

      I’m glad that it was able to help you where it did. We definitely need to make the best of every moment we share with those we love.


  7. yusdaly brito November 7, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    Very touching.

  8. erniemcpeck November 9, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    That was a very well-written and heart-felt article Emily. Thank you for sharing such a personal moment with us.
    I regret that I didn’t spend more time with all of my grandparents, who are all sadly no longer with us. Occasionally my feeling of regret comes back to me, for example at my brother’s wedding this year my mum cried because her parents did not live to see any of their grandchildren getting married.
    If I could do it over again, I would definitely spend as much time as possible with my grandparents, who were all wonderful people.

  9. Dick Syatt November 17, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    Very well written. Straight from your heart. At 58 years old, I have so many similar regrets. I try not to make these type of mistakes anymore, but I do. I am happy to find your blog.

  10. Miguel Cuellar November 17, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    Couldn’t agree more with your blog/message

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