The Call That Changed Everything
To this day, it amazes me how fast things can change. One second everything seems normal, then the next second everything is different. Most people, including myself, seem to forget how impactful each moment in life can truly be. Even the moments that seem the most forgettable can be the ones that change your life forever. In my case, it was an unexpected phone call from my dad.
“Your grandfather is missing. He has now been gone for a few days now. Come home and pack, we leave for Texas late tonight.”
At the time, the call didn’t seem like anything to really be worried about. Nothing too bad had ever happened to my family, and I just assumed that my mom’s father would return to the Dallas farmhouse with an overenthusiastic story about where he had been. My grandfather, Gill Clements, was an oil tycoon in Texas and the son of the previous governor, Bill Clements. Needless to say he was well known around the state. At the time, I felt confident that he was with someone he knew, or involved in business related activities that he may have gotten lost in. Despite my optimism, my family headed to the airport and boarded a red-eye flight for the Love Field airport in Dallas to join the rest of the family. Again, however, it only took one moment, one phone call, for my families’ lives to change. My mom pressed the phone to her ear, already visibly apprehensive about her father’s whereabouts. Moments later, the phone fell to floor of the plane, followed by the cries of a woman who had just lost a parent. My grandfather had been found buried in a shallow grave, killed by the man who illegally lived on the property my grandfather was in the process of purchasing.
Healing isn’t Perfect
The death of my grandfather was obviously difficult for everyone in my family, but it impacted each individual differently. To this day, I believe that the greatest impact this tragedy had was not the event itself, but the lasting effects it had on the relationships in my family. It has made me realize that healing doesn’t always happen with others, or in the way that we would like it to. The fact that it impacted everyone so differently seemed to make it impossible to grow closer throughout it all. In fact, the opposite happened. My family quickly drifted apart, tensions rose, and long lasting disagreements formed. The anger and sadness brought with it animosity that started from the source. Disagreements broke out between my grandfather’s parents, wife, children, and siblings. It quickly worsened to taking sides and eventually ending all contact between one another. It continued until my family was plagued with divorce, silence, avoidance, and disdain.
The Aftermath of Tragedy
Today, my life is much different than it was, and much different than I pictured it would be. I thought my family was perfect, as I assume many children do. I always hear similar stories about how a hard time brought people closer together or healed confrontations between old friends. The problem is that tragedies and hard times can have the opposite effect. I have a great life and so many things to be thankful for, but I will always look back at my grandfather’s murder and wonder what would be different if we weren’t part of such a rare and tragic occurrence. I look forward to the moment I will see my grandmother again. I’m excited to sit down with my now teenage cousins and catch up on all the things we’ve missed in each other’s lives over the years. I think about the day that my parents can talk to one another again and be able to accept that tragedy changes people.
Impact on my Life
Though it may seem that every part of this story is a negative, some of the lessons I took out of it were beneficial to my future and me. Divorce is common this day in age, and since that moment specifically, I have grown up and learned how to deal with unfavorable events. I have learned how to listen to different opinions and see the value in them. Most importantly, I have learned to appreciate the friendships, relationships, and what may feel like the unimportant things. There is something to be said for realizing that the most seemingly forgettable moments can be the moments that change your life.