A day and a year ago, I woke up and went about my selfish day, not knowing that the next day, my grandfather who lived with me and my family, would be gone.
Before him, I never lost anyone that I was close to. I didn't know what it meant to grieve and I didn't understand people who counted the days that have gone by and dwelled on loved ones who passed.
I didn't empathize with social media posts captioned things like "Six months ago, you were here." or "2 years seems a lifetime without you."
But now, I do.
I consider myself fortunate, due to the circumstances that up until a year ago, I had never lost someone in my 21 years of life that I loved to the degree I did my grandfather.
And although we all like to pride ourselves on "living without regrets," I'd be lying if I said I didn't regret choosing a night out at a bar over a night in on the couch with my grandpa.
But that's life.
There's things you can't get back, no matter how many times you replay difference scenarios in your head thinking about the non-existent 'if I could go back's' or I wish I could re-do's'.
But if you're like me in either past tense (have yet to lose a loved one) or present tense (lost of a loved one and dwelling on it), take my advice and live your life as if they're here today, but today is their last day. You don't want your last memory to be you running out the door to a Honda Civic picking you up for a dive bar, replacing memories of sentimental value. Last summer, I have no recollection of night-life with my friends, but the one night I stayed in to watch Wheel of Fortune with Grandpa, with the volume way too loud for me but just loud enough for him to understand the commentary.
I should've put more thought behind my answers when he asked me questions about school. Laptops and majors like mine didn't exist when he was my age. He only ever knew WW2 and raising a family.
I should've asked more questions. Because when I see veterans at work while waitressing, I thank them for their service and acknowledge my grandpa was in the service as well.
"Where did he serve?"
I don't remember. Oh wait. I think it started with a B... Burma?
And when customers take off their "veteran" hats and say they were so lucky to have not been drafted to that area, I wish I had more to say. But I don't, because I didn't ask enough questions, because I thought he'd be here forever.
I remind myself everyday to drive my car like he's in the front seat and live my life like he's watching over my shoulder, because I damn well know he is.
Live your life this way, too. And I promise, your day will be better than the one before.