It was my sophomore year at Alabama State University, and I was stuck on campus for Thanksgiving. Typically I was okay with being a school for the holidays. However, this time around things was different. I really wanted to go back home to spend time with my family, but because my grandparents would have to buy a plane ticket just 2 weeks later for Winter break, the advised they would not be able to afford flying home both times, and I was devastated.

The morning of Thanksgiving I woke up feeling a little down. I called my grandparents and did the usual “Happy Thanksgiving” and rushed off the phone a bit bitter that I wasn’t there, but something in my heart urged me to call back.

I called back and told my grandfather I was thankful for his willingness to raise me as his own child while my parents combated their issues with drugs. I told my grandfather that I loved him, and I knew that I wasn’t the best Grandchild at times, but I always thanked God for giving me a grandfather like him.

Next, I spoke to my mom, and I told her to go around the table and have the entire family share with each other why they were thankful for one another, something we had never done before.

My grandfather and mom had a long history of bumping heads and not getting along, but that day my mom told my grandfather sorry for everything she might have said or done to hurt him in the past, and she also told him how much she loved him.

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving my grandfather died in a car accident. It’s been over a decade since I lost him and tears still continue to swell up in my eyes anytime I think about it. The day I found out about his death was a pain I had never felt before. It was a hurt that jolted through my entire body and shook my soul. However, on that Thanksgiving Day in 2007, a few days before his death, I believe God was working through me.

God spoke to me on that day, and I listened to his voice. He told me to tell my mom to go around that table for a reason. My granddaddy’s kids, my grandmother, and I all got a chance to tell him how much we loved him before he left this earth.

That moment in my life means so much to me because everyone won’t get that chance to tell their loved ones how much they truly love them before they leave this earth. I think about the whole year of 2007. That summer we gave my grandfather a 70th-year birthday party. I remember that goofy face he made when we all shouted “Surprise.” But little did we know, that would be his last birthday… August before I left for college would be that last time I gave my grandfather a hug and Thanksgiving would be my last Goodbye.

You never know what day will be your last, that’s why you have to cherish your family and make the best out of life.

3 weeks before my grandfather’s death, I was in my suitemate room, and we were all talking about death. She was reflecting on stories when she lost loved ones she was really close to. At that time I shared that I didn’t know how that kind of hurt felt, because I had never lost anyone close to me, and 3 weeks later I experienced that pain.

I encourage you to take a quick moment out your day right now and tell your family that you love them because you never know when that moment will be your last.