Appreciate Everything; Take Nothing for Granted

My grandmother is a shell of her former self. 

Five years ago, it was forgotten anniversaries, and the keys she swore were in the car. It was not eating and leaving the door unlocked sometimes. Then it got worse. I remember one day we were on a summer drive in the 1968 MGA stick shift, and she was driving. She went to turn and the car stalled, but she had forgotten how to get it back running. We were in the middle of traffic and I was forced to try everything in the book to get the car off the road. As we sat in an abandoned parking lot in shock, I knew something was seriously wrong.

Now I’m lucky if nanny (that’s what we’ve always called her) remembers who I am. I go to her house and visit her and my grandfather, but it’s not the same. She sits and stares into the distance the entire time, but there is never a day where she doesn’t give me a kiss on the cheek before I walk out the door. It’s all about those little moments, because quite frankly those are all she has left to hold on to — those precious seconds in time. After a few hours, she won’t remember that I was up there, but I hold on to the hope there is a part of her that still recognizes her three beautiful grandchildren. 

You never know how many days you have left with someone. When I was in high school I never thought that my grandmother would be where she is right now. I imagined her at my wedding, meeting my boyfriend, and seeing me graduate college. But the unfortunate truth of the matter is that our time with the people we love is limited. In August of 2015, my uncle was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. By Christmas Eve, he had passed away. I will forever treasure all of the time I got to spend with him, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t angry about all the years I thought he had. I was equally angry with my grandfather’s lack of time. He went in for a regulatory procedure and never came out of the hospital. These devastating losses threatened to break me, but I know in my heart that they would not want me to hurt. They were strong advocates of spontaneous fun. 

“Make memories and take pictures,” my dad wrote to me in a letter as I went off to college. He had to watch his mom disappear before his eyes, so he knows all too well the importance of quality time. 

So that’s what I did. I’ve been embracing the unknown at New Paltz, and spending time doing things that I genuinely love with the people that bring out the best in me. While I know this won’t bring back my loved ones, it allows me to be confident that I’ve lived every second to the fullest. 

I’ve never been a “live in the moment” type of girl. My planner is riddled with half-baked ideas and appointments, and I like to have everything organized long before it comes to fruition. But I also can’t shake the idea that these seemingly-miniscule experiences are what we have to live for, because we never know how long we, or the people we love, have on this earth. So eat ice cream, buy those concert tickets and make dinner with your family on a whim; those are moments you can never get back.

About Shyana Fisher 60 Articles
Shyana Fisher is a fourth-year journalism major. This is her sixth semester on staff at the Oracle, previously serving as a sports copy editor and Features Page Editor. She enjoys writing profiles and has recently found passion in her radio station internship at WGNA 107.7.