Best Lesson: Learning the hard way how precious time is, and why we need to treasure loved ones here and now

Best Lesson: Learning the hard way how precious time is, and why we need to treasure loved ones here and now

An unexpected loss taught our Junior Reporter the importance of treasuring those you love most


Angelina (second from left) with her grandparents and sister.
Photo: Angelina Wang

We often take the simplest things for granted: food, water, shelter, and especially time. We put off difficult things (homework, diets, confrontations) until tomorrow, and tomorrow turns into next week, into next year, until we manage to avoid some things entirely. With this mindset, I always thought I had more time to improve myself, to achieve my dreams, and to live happily with my family and friends. That was until time ran out for someone I loved.

My grandpawas a big part of my childhood. When I was a baby and my parents were both working full-time to provide for our family, he and my grandma moved in temporarily to take care of me and my sister. There is one memory from my childhood that I will never forget.

One winter evening many years ago, I returned home after spending hours playing in the muddy snow. The white boots I was wearing were sopping wet and filthy, but I didn’t care, because I’d had so much fun. I kicked them off at the front door and quickly headed inside.

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The next day, I went into the hallway and noticed something. My white boots were neatly lined up next to the door, looking as pristine and white as ever. I was confused: whose new boots were these?

Then, my grandpa nonchalantly walked up behind me and said, “I had extra time so I washed your boots.” I squealed happily and hugged him.

Later, my parents told me, “Your grandpa stayed up last night cleaning your shoes. They were really dirty, but he took lots of time to make them look nice just so you would be happy”. The thought of my grandpa crouching over my boots, painstakingly scrubbing every inch of them almost brought tears to my eyes. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, realising how much I loved him and all of my family.

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But over the next few years, I was busy with schoolwork and other activities, so I saw him less and less. I promised to visit him once my workload became lighter, but I never did. Although I knew he must have been disappointed, he never once complained, instead encouraging me to study hard.

Then, last year, my grandpa passed away. It was during the week of my mock exams, and when I received the news, I felt frozen. I couldn’t believe that someone that was so alive and so important to me had stopped existing just like that.

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I thought I had more time – time to tell him how much I loved him, how much I appreciated everything he did for me and our family. I was angry at myself. I never got the chance to do something for him the way he had cleaned my boots for me all those years ago. He wouldn’t see me graduate from high school, or see the family I would have of my own one day. Despite knowing I had exams the next morning, I lay down and cried myself to sleep.

Since then, I’ve resolved to change my mindset and behaviour. I now proactively make sure to express my gratitude to those I love, even for the small things, like holding the door open for me. There’s no way of knowing how much time we have, so we should make sure to take the time to cherish all that we have. When was the last time you told someone you love that you sincerely love and appreciate them? Maybe now is the time to do it.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
No time like the present


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