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Take nothing and no one for granted in 2014

01/29/2014

On New Year’s Eve, my friends and I were discussing our plans and expectations for 2014. This is going to be a year that big things happen. It’s the year of the end of college and (fingers crossed) the beginning of careers.

If the month of January was any indication, 2014 is going to be a life-changing year for me and for a lot of people in my life.

My grandmother had been battling both Alzheimer’s and cancer in 2013. During the second week of classes this semester, I received a phone call from my mother saying that my grandmother likely had less than a week to live. I told my professors and was excused from class the next day so that I could be with my family.

We spent the entire day in the nursing home. Even though hospice said she probably wouldn’t make it past noon, she did. Throughout the day, my parents and aunts and uncles and I would sit in silence and hold my grandmother’s hand, or even talk to her even though she couldn’t talk back to us. As we watched her slip away from us, we shared memories that we had of her and knew that we would always be able to hold on to those.

At one point that day, I had stepped out into the hallway of the nursing home when I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I had a text from my friend Jennifer, saying that she and her husband just found out that they are expecting a baby girl.

My grandmother’s life was ending; a new life was beginning.

As I stumbled numbly into my apartment that Friday evening, my roommate Carly was ecstatic. “I got an interview for my first big-girl job!” she screamed at me. “It’s a producing job with a TV station in Huntsville!” Carly had graduated in December and spent the following weeks busily applying for jobs.

My grandmother died at 12:20 that Saturday morning.

The next day, Sunday, I attended a bridal shower for one of my best childhood friends, Kali. I sat with my other childhood best friend, Anna, and we reminisced about our goofy, teenage selves.

“You know what?” Anna said. “Last summer was the first time that the three of us didn’t spend a weekend together, or even have a shopping day together.”

“I guess we were all too busy this past summer,” I replied.

On Monday night, Kali and her family came to my grandmother’s funeral, and Carly went to dinner with one of the executive producers at the TV station as part of the interview process.

Carly signed her contract with the station last week. My other roommates and I helped her load all of her belongings from our apartment into her car last Saturday. It was the end of Carly’s time with us at JSU and the beginning of her time as a morning show producer, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

This Saturday, my roommate Brittany and I plan to go to Huntsville and look at apartments with Carly. And for the rest of this year, I plan to never take anyone or anything for granted, to never be too busy for the people that I care about.

After all, 2014 will be an eventful year.

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