It happened when I was a sophomore in high school. My mom dropped me off at our grandparents house like she did every morning and we walked to school. On this particular day, when my mom came to pick me up rather than the two of us, because at the time my sister chose to stay with my grandparents, she honked the horn for me to hurry. Rather than waiting and allowing her to get annoyed and come in to see what was taking me so long, I ran out of the house and to the car. As soon as I shut the door, it dawned on me, I didn’t kiss my grandparents and tell them “I love you.” Then, I thought, I’ll tell them tomorrow. Well…. I never got the tomorrow I was hoping for. I can remember it as if it were yesterday, the phone rang and my mom answered it on the first ring. Because we never received calls in the middle of night, I knew something was wrong. I ran to my mom’s room and I could hear her say, “oh, Doug, no.” That’s when I asked, what? I could hear myself say it over and over again and when my mom finally got off the phone she said, “grandpaw died.” The only thing I could say was “no, mom, no” We immediately got dressed and went over to the house. This was the longest drive of my life. The entire time my mom was driving, I kept thinking, we would arrive at my grandparent’s house and it would not be true, they made a mistake, he would be sitting in that chair he always sat in and he would be just fine. However, that was not the scene we arrived upon. Instead, the paramedics were carting him out of the house on a stretcher, zipped up in a black body bag. I later found out, the paramedics had attempted to resuscitate him for over 15-20 minutes but that he had slipped away peacefully during the night. Apparently, he took his last breath while having a conversation with my grandmother and she knew immediately that he was gone.
It was on that day, I promised myself I would never walk out of the house without telling my loved ones, “I love you.”