If Tears Could Build A Stairway, and Memories a Lane. I’d Walk Right Up to Heaven and Bring You Back Again.

My phone fell to the ground. The silence in my room was growing, I felt as if someone had punched me in my gut. The voice on the other line grew faint. As I picked the phone back up I tried to speak but no words came out just tear after tear.

It was a typical Sunday morning, or so I thought. I was getting ready for work at around 10 a.m. and suddenly my phone rang. My mom was calling me and I definitely predicted a lecture on how much money I had spent that weekend. To my surprise, when I answered my mom’s voice wasn’t as perky as usual, in fact it wasn’t my mom on the phone.

My dad’s voice came through the speaker, so soft and quiet, I knew something wasn’t right.

“Honey, are you busy right now?”

“No I’m in my room, what’s up…,” I said cautiously.

“We were in the hospital all night with my brother, Sammy’s gone.”

He whimpered and had to get off the phone. I’ve only seen my dad cry once and that was just a few tears when his father, my grandpa, passed away a couple years back.

My mom quickly took the phone as my dad was crying in the background. She asked me if I was okay, not to worry, and that my cousin was in a better place. I told her I would call her back, I needed to get off the phone right away and gather my thoughts.

Sammy was only 23 years old, he was of course, my favorite older guy cousin, my parents godson, and someone I had grown up with and shared so many precious memories with. My older brother Esteban, Sammy, his younger brother Erik, and myself were like four peas in a pod growing up.

Of course his younger brother, Erik, and I were closer due to us being the same age. But Sammy was always around, joking about everything and anything, making us laugh 24/7 and had his signature super, cheesy smile to brighten up the room.

The date was October 13th when he left us. It was his younger brother, Erik’s birthday. I know unfortunate, right? Sammy’s intention that day was to just get to my aunt and uncle’s house and celebrate with the family.

Unfortunately, that was not in God’s plan for him. I won’t get into detail about how my cousin passed away, because for me what’s more important is how he spent his life, not the last few moments of it.

I must admit, I wish me and Sammy had more conversations, and made more memories but as we grew older and since I had left for college our last conversation had been about a few months prior. I remember him telling me, like he always does, that I better not have a boyfriend or he’ll hunt him down, because he always saw me as that little girl he had grown up with. And just how proud he was that I was doing well in college. It was definitely one of our most easy-going and love-filled conversations. That is a memory I will forever close dear to my heart.

I can write about how I learned we need to live our lives each day as if it were our last, the usual cliché one says about their tragic losses and what they learned. But I honestly have realized so much more from this unfortunate, devastating event in my life. Although living each day to the fullest is a great mindset to have, I believe telling your loved ones how much you appreciate and care for them is just as important.

I wish I had kept in closer contact with him, that’s my one regret.

The weekend after his passing I got to see family members that I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years. I finally got to spend time with them after so long. But for what? For a funeral. It took Sammy to pass away for my cousins, aunts, uncles, and extended family to get together after many years. I loved seeing everyone, but it shouldn’t take a tragedy for all of us to be communicating and in one place.

Tragedies happen and people dear to our hearts will leave us for some reason or another but life shouldn’t stop because everything happens for a reason. Time is precious and being happy and surrounded by positive people and people who you care for is so important. A simple, “I’m thinking of you, hope your day is going well,” doesn’t hurt. Keep your family close and don’t take anything or anyone for granted, because you never know what their destiny may be.

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Breathe Easy Sammy Morales. November 24, 1989- October 13, 2013

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