This story begins at a summer camp outside Brandon, Vermont. This was my first summer working back east during my high school years. To see the country, I had driven my Dodge Demon throughout the east coast and was now contently working at Twin Lake Camp. Life was good.
About halfway through the summer I get a call from my mother telling me that my grandfather – Roy Ambrister was dying and probably wouldn’t make it another week. Shock set in – “Pop” aka Roy Ambrister wasn’t just my grandfather – He was my everything. Pop was the man that introduced me to Rotary. Taking me as a child to his Pauls Valley Rotary Meetings where he had previously served as its President. Pop taught me to play gin rummy – he had raced me while swimming and taken me to his cabin frequently throughout all my youth. Now my Pop was dying, and I wasn’t near to express my feelings. I had never told him that I loved him. I asked my parents if I could fly back – but, it was too expensive, and no one knew how much longer Pop might live.
I suddenly realized that I had to express my love and thoughts of appreciation to my Pop – who was the most important person in my life. So, with pen in hand I sat down and wrote a 6-7-page letter! I poured out my heart telling him how much he meant to me and how he influenced my life. I placed stamps on my letter and mailed it immediately.
I called my mother the next day to tell her about the letter; and to be on the lookout. He continued to get worse. I called the next day and still no letter had arrived. I prayed that my letter would arrive in time.
Finally, about a week after I had written my letter – it arrived. But, Pop was dropping in and out of conscience and no one thought he could understand anything. My mother and my Aunt were spending their last times with their father – and then they decide to start reading my letter to him – even while he was out of it. God has a funny way of teaching us lessons doesn’t he. Here is the most important person in my life dying and being read my very personal letter to him by my mother and my aunt. When the letter arrived, the doctor told everyone death was at most 24 hours away. Suddenly, Pop would wake up and ask to hear my letter again, and again, and again. My Aunt reminded me that he must have heard my letter a hundred times. A week later Roy Ambrister (my Pop) walked out of the hospital. His will to live outweighed death.
It was a blessing that I was given the chance to expressing my feelings. Pop lived an additional two years past that summer. My letter with his bible were at his bedside until the day he died. Second chances don’t come often – but when they do recognize them and capitalize on your opportunity. Tell your loved ones how you feel – don’t miss the opportunity – like I almost did!