Opinion: Spring into life: Death’s harsh reminder

Dylan Webb is a teaching English as a second language major. Contact him at [email protected]

Dylan Webb

As the last doctor on the board told my grandmother the news that the only treatment for her newly diagnosed pancreatic cancer was a chemotherapy drug with only a seven percent chance doing any good — at best she would have an extra two months to live — three generations of the Webb family were frozen in shock. My grandmother has always been a symbol of unconditional love for me in my life, supporting me in times of need, especially when my parents couldn’t. I would often notice she never asked me for anything in return except small requests.

I was reminded of a harsh time in my life I will never forget. About a year ago, through a mutual friend, I met Spencer. We first met while we were going to the bars for St. Patrick’s Day. He had a good heart that had been through great pain. He was remembered for giving people hope in their darkest hour, whether it was praying with the homeless or recovering addicts in gas stations, or just having the smile that lit up a room.  I remember us talking on that night about peace and love, and I remember the grief that ran through my whole system when my friend told me Spencer had died from an overdose at 21.

The funeral forever changing me. With tears down my face, I looked down into his casket at the striped sleeves covering up tatted and marked arms. He had become as he truly was behind the quiet demeanor: an innocent man with a heart of gold.

At that time, I was in one of the worst slumps of my life. Depression and anxiety had controlled my life. Antidepressants were doing more damage than it helped; I became a zombie. One night while dreaming, I saw a bottle of the antidepressants as a haunting voice whispered in my ear, “Poison!” It was G-d and my subconscious telling me that I had to face these problems head-on, and not hide behind medication.

I decided to live as much as I could. I rushed from one organization to another, getting outside my boundaries. I marched in city streets in protests against societal oppression, learned the Torah more in depth than I ever had before, doing as much as I could to cling to life with all my might.

Sometimes the most satisfying part of my achievements was seeing the smile of joy on my grandmother’s face whenever she saw me get A’s or see the writing I made for the Stater. I know I’ve come a long way, coming home late from nights working hard in the office from a 12-hour day full of studying and giving back what I can to the community. I realized I was slowly become an exhausted workaholic.

Before I left from Kent, my grandma told me a few simple words that changed my life. As her 94-year-old eyes looked into mine, still filled with fire, she said, “Have fun for me! While you’re young.” The next day I booked a flight to Colorado for the NoCo Hemp Expo, ready for an adventure. My new goal is to live as much as possible, to travel the world, take time out of my schedule to help others and to find love that can last a lifetime or beyond.

We need to make our lives shine with brilliance and intensity, getting rid of these foolish distractions of social media and binge watching Netflix. Spend time in love — whether it’s family, a friend or a lover. Make sure you feel satisfied at the end of the day instead of staying stuck in misery. We must live our lives to the fullest.