The Last Thing

[Note: Written June 2006. Reason unknown.]

In the course of my short life, I have had jobs where I could view people in different stages of their lives. Good times, bad times, and all points in between.

A few years back, I circulated around a few hospitals in town. I worked for a couple days in the neonatal ward, where premature babies are kept until they develop enough to be able to go home. For six weeks, I worked in Transportation. In that job I saw all kinds of things. Ten year-olds with cancer who had a bright outlook on what they know will be a short existence, old people who just received Bad News at their checkup, and the friends who died together in a car accident a short time before.

Death is something that comes for us all, but we do not know when, where, or how. Only that it comes.

In fall of 2001, I started college. I was tense and nervous on that first day and my spirits were lifted when I saw my old friend, Tony, walk out of a classroom. I had known Tony since way back when we first started Kindergarten thirteen years previous. We went to the same middle school, but then went off to separate high schools so it was great to see an old friend again.

A month and a half later, October 19, I saw him in the library studying for one of his classes. He had told me before that he was going to have a really hard test on Monday. I thought it funny that any class would have a hard test so early in the semester. So, on my way out of the library, I didn’t say “Hi” to him figuring I would be able to do it Monday after his test. But, Monday never came for him. He was killed the next night in a traffic accident.

The day he died, October 20th, was my 19th birthday. While I had the time of my life at my first concert, he was having the last of his. That made me think, to you, today could be a normal day, but for someone else it could be their last. I had a friend whose birthday is September 11th, no one has a problem remembering his birthday anymore.

When you see someone you’ve never met before, do you wonder what kind of life they lead? What kind of problems they’ve faced not just in their lives, but on that day? In my current job as Dairy Associate, I see all kinds of people come in and buy milk, eggs, juice, or whatever else they want. Not too long ago, I saw an old couple, about 70-years old and it made me cry.

They reminded me so much of my own grandparents. On my mother’s side of my family, my grandfather died in 1992, I was 9 at the time. I never told him I loved him, I never even really talked to him. I can’t even remember his voice. All I know is what other people tell me about him. I wish he could have told me himself though.
When I started this article, it was going to be about how you can never be sure of another person’s situation in life, that you should be kind to everyone you meet because you don’t know what that person has gone through that day in their lives, and in a way I guess it still is.

So I guess the point is: Be nice to people, you never know when it will be the last thing someone hears.

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