Abby Hevert, ’15
On Friday, I received an unusual message from my mother. She asked me to call her, if I could, and so I did. I got on the phone and it was my dad, telling me that my grandfather was dying. My grandfather was leaving the hospital and going back home after a terrifyingly short battle with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), which deteriorates the body, sometimes in a very fast way. They were in the car headed to see him in his final days, and I was in Munich, Germany, halfway across the world with limited ways to change flights home and cancel travel to Austria, Croatia, and Switzerland. Every time I used my hostel’s phone, I only heard people who spoke German. I pleaded, in English, with the simplest of vocabulary: “change flight, please!” It was fruitless. The internet stopped working. I was stuck. So I did the one thing I could think to do: I called my brother.
Mark, my brother, picked up and talked to me about my grandfather. He and I then started to talk about how incredible it was that I was in Germany, my grandfather’s home country. It seemed to the both of us that it was almost poetic that I was in the place where my grandfather started while he was at his end. I cried and explained to my brother how devastated that I was that I could not say goodbye to Grandpa. I screamed, got frustrated, and cried “Mark, get me home! Right now! Get me home!” He, being the beautiful person that he is, said: “Abby. This is the world telling you that there is nothing you can do right now. I need you to go get a shower, talk to your friends, vent, say some prayers, get a beer, and walk around Munich for Grandpa. Breathe it in and then breathe it out for him. You are exactly where you should be. Let go. The universe is in control right now.” So, I took all of that advice. I walked down to the Glockenspiel (one of the most famous landmarks in Germany), said around fifty Hail Mary’s, and purchased a beer at a sketchy kebab place. I went back into my room and felt more at peace than ever. No plans had been made. My grandfather was still dying. I was still thousands of miles away from my family. And, yet, the peace I felt was more overwhelming than my stress. I surrendered to the universe. It was time for my grandfather to go home to his eternal one and it was time for me to go home to my temporary one in Massachusetts, leaving my time abroad. I knew that the universe would find a way for me to get home and it did. I flew home on Monday without any regrets or hard feelings. It was my time to go and so I trusted that the universe was leading me in the right direction. I realized that everyone has a time to leave; including my grandfather. He was at peace with his departure and so I was at peace with mine.
I came home on Monday and went to PC on Tuesday. There, I saw so many seniors. They were all telling me about their upcoming plans after graduation, or lack thereof. They were mostly unsure, mostly terrified, and mostly sad to be leaving PC. Of course, they are all still incredible. The class of 2014 is still amazing in every respect. They always made me feel welcomed, important, respected, and comforted. The seniors at Providence College are ones for the history books. They challenged each other and their school. They make differences, live completely, and enjoy their experiences at PC fully. They live their time at PC wholeheartedly. And, of course, with this commitment to live completely and fully comes a “catch twenty-two,” of sorts. When we invest ourselves in something or someone, we are at risk of being hurt when that something or someone goes away. Because I had endowed myself to my family, I was saddened at the passing of my grandfather. And because the seniors of Providence College have invested themselves completely in their school, they will also be saddened when it is their day to depart. Seniors, take a lesson from my grandfather. When he was asked how he was feeling when he was leaving this earth, he smiled and said “terrific.” He was devoted in life, reaped the benefits, and left feeling complete. And, so, even though it is difficult to do, I ask the class of 2014 to perhaps smile during these last few weeks, think back on your time, and be thankful that you were invested. When you get that diploma, I hope you do not say: “But I did not have enough time!” I hope, instead, you smile and say, fondly, “terrific.”
Because, after all, the time comes for all of us to depart. But, always remember, that with departures come new arrivals. Exits lead to entrances. Last days lead to first days. Good things lead to great things. Great things lead to better things. So, 2014, although your time is nearing for your departure, remember to surrender to the universe. There comes a time for all of us to leave. But there also comes a time for all of us to start anew, become better, and embark on the next adventure. It is all a part of this universal plan, you see. It is beyond us so surrender to it. It will not lead you astray, I promise you. It assigns us all a time to leave so that we can start something better.
So, 2014: I ask you to yield to the universe. After all, there always comes a time.