When a loved one dies it seems like it is the end of the world. We wonder how we will ever go on without them, and for weeks, months, and years we are preoccupied by the thought of them being gone. In reality though the death of a loved one should be a lesson to us all, it should be a lesson to show us that we don’t have forever to spend with the people who are important to us, and that we don’t have forever to make our dreams come true. Starting in May of 2009 was when my brother Danny got sick, but the thought of him being terminally ill never even crossed my mind.
It had been a year since I had seen him but we talked all the time and he always seemed just fine. I had no idea anything was even wrong until my dad told me that my brother had had a heart attack. Danny was only twenty-two, and he was born with type one diabetes so when I heard about the heart attack I thought it was just another random symptom of his diabetes. Over the next couple of months though, Danny had heart attacks more frequently. Nobody told me what was going on or what was wrong with him until he finally had to be flown to a hospital in Minneapolis.
Little did I know, his heart had started failing and apparently if somebody is diabetic they can’t receive a heart transplant. My brother was in the hospital for a month and his condition progressively got worse. At twenty two years old Danny was bound to a hospital bed with tubes and needles all over him. My brother didn’t even recognize his own wife, mother, father, or even his son. The only person he recognized was our oldest brother Andrew. His whole life was like a book that had all of the pages ripped out now. (Simile. While Dan was in the hospital I wasn’t able to go see him because of school and the fact I hadn’t done very well in school lately, and my brother couldn’t have his phone in the hospital. My dad gave me the number for the hospital so that I could call and talk to Danny, but every time I called the nurses said they would have him call me back. But they never did. On November 9th, 2009, Danny died. I remember it like it happened yesterday. I had just gotten home from school and my mom was still at work. I was in the kitchen making food when I got a message on my phone from my dad.
As soon as I sat down with my food I called my dad back, and he told me Danny died. I didn’t even believe it it didn’t feel real at all. There was no way that I could wrap my mind around the fact that Danny was done dancing. (Metaphor. ) I was never going to get to see my own brother again, I wouldn’t get another call on my cell phone from him for the rest of my life. It seemed impossible that somewhere in a hospital in Minneapolis my brother was lying in a bed asleep, and now he was never going to wake up again. To this day it doesn’t really seem real. Shortly after Danny died his wife found out she was pregnant, and it made me so angry.
I was furious about the fact that my brother was never going to get to meet his new baby. This is when I realized how important it is take advantage of the time that I have here with the people that I love. After I got over being so angry about the situation I realized that all that time that I just spent being angry was time I just wasted. I wasted time that I could have been spending with the people that I love, or working towards my own dreams and goals. All of my life I’ve heard people say live life to its fullest or live everyday like it’s your last day.
Every time I heard those sayings they just struck me as very cliche phrases that people would say to try and make themselves sound like they just came up with some really deep thought. But after experiencing the loss of my brother when he was just twenty two years old, it made me realize that you really do need to live like you’re dying. You never know when somebody you love isn’t going to be there tomorrow, or when one day you’re not going to be there anymore. Our lives are not meant to be wasted, and it’s up to us to make sure we don’t waste them.
I have learned to appreciate the people I have in my life and realized that dwelling on things in the past will prevent me from achieving all that I can in the future. As much as I do miss my brother, I know that dwelling on the fact that he physically isn’t here anymore will only hold me back. I know that Danny will always be right here with me even if I can’t see him, and I need to appreciate that fact. I think of it more like Danny is just on an extended road trip, and I will see him again one day. But until that day I have learned to move forward with my life and make Dan proud.