Precious Moments

Rachel Gauer, Reporter

Photo by Megan Gauer

In September of 2017, my sister and my names were called over the intercom during a normal lunch period. We quickly finished our conversation with a long-time friend, and, worried and shaking, we hurried over to the office to find our distraught mother waiting for us. My mind raced with possible cases of why she had come: who had died? My grandpa had been awaiting his second open heart surgery so my mind naturally assumed it had something to do with him.

My mother gravely instructed us to leave the office, and halfway through the parking lot, she told us: my father had experienced a stroke. She received a call from his coworker and knew only that he had been taken to the hospital. She did not know the severity of it, did not know why or how it happened and if he would live.

My mind raced. I felt hysterical, confused, broken. I genuinely remember thinking I no longer had a father, and that I would never see or speak to him again. I would never greet him after he returned from work, I would never laugh with him as we watched Saturday Night Live together, I would never have another deep conversation with him about the end of the world or another meaningful and philosophical topic. My mother would have to finish raising my sister and me alone, I thought, and life would never, ever be the same.

Thankfully, this wasn’t true. We got incredibly lucky–his stroke was very minor and he recovered very quickly after that day. But for that moment those terrifying thoughts seemed to be my new reality. And as horrifying that moment of confusion and terror was, it made me realize how life could change in an instant. This idea was not a new one to me, for I had heard how precious life was my whole life –but this situation brought a whole new meaning to it.

I recommended to anyone and everyone to live in the moment as much as you possibly can. Send a letter to your grandma ‘just because,’ visit that friend you grew apart from, spend quality time with your parents, even if you just take up an offer to go on an errand with them. Laugh with your friends, sit in your room at night and, rather than thinking about what is going wrong in your life, think about how much you have to be grateful for. Make it that, if something suddenly happened to someone you love, you wouldn’t regret your last interaction with them. We as humans cannot plan spontaneous events. They will occur if we are ready or not ready. But, I believe the only way we can prepare ourselves for them is to feel and show our love and appreciation for our lives and the people in them.

Because of this realization, I try to live my life as cautiously and appreciatively as I possibly can. It made me realize how situations that seem so important could suddenly seem dumb, petty, trivial. Though cliche– I learned how precious life can be.