As a kid, I remember walking in the front door of my grandparents’ house after a long day of school to be told that my mother had passed away. The last time I saw her would be the last time that I would ever see her alive. It was a harsh and final thing for me to hear.
Sixteen years later I had made friends with this young lady. She was from El Salvador, and since my Southern tongue could not seem to wrap itself around her name, I called her Lethe’. It is pronounced like Le with the e being like the e in egg and the’ sounding like the word they.
She was my buddy and you could frequently find her beating me mercilessly at a game of pool. She introduced me to Flamin Hot Cheetos which is something that I would only eat at her insistence that I try. I still eat them today. She opened up my world to an entirely new culture. I had certainly heard of El Salvador, but I had never actually met someone from there.
A short while before I was to start taking some new classes she started to not feel well. She did visit the doctor, but her symptoms seemed to be getting worse. I became distracted by the classes that I was now taking until I bumped into her sister one Friday night after I realized that even with the classes I was taking I should have seen her around somewhere. At that time, her sister told me that Lethe’ had taken a turn for the worse and was now in the hospital.
I was shocked. I had known that she was sick, but I would not let the idea that it was anything serious enter my mind even though she had some unusual symptoms the last that I saw her. I quickly and frantically searched for someone to go to the hospital with me. Jennifer proved to be a reliable friend and agreed to go.
Bright and early Saturday morning, we set out for the hospital. When we got there, Jennifer thought that it would be a good idea for us to stop at the gift shop and get her the magazines that she enjoyed. We finally got to her room to find her lying in a hospital bed now covered with sores. She was happy to see us. We talked to her for a while. We told her that we loved her, hugged her, and before I exited the room I told her how much I wanted to see her again.
That was not to happen. The next day, I became aware that she passed. The only solace I had to comfort me was that I got the chance to say goodbye. The opportunity that had eluded me with my mother sixteen years before was one that I had taken advantage of with her.
What have you taken advantage of recently that seemed to have gotten away from you in the past?