The Waiting Room
A family is like a puzzle. When all of the pieces are put together and fit perfectly in their own unique ways, I feel content. Ever since I can remember, I have always had that puzzle put together. Nobody in my family or nobody very close to me has ever died. But one day, I thought that my puzzle would get ruined and no longer be together. This was the day that I found out that my grandpa Danny had a heart attack.
This incident happened exactly two years ago over MEA break. My dad and brother were already at the trapper shack for a day. The trapper shack is this little shack in the middle of nowhere in Baltrami were they go hunt. This weekend they were so excited to hunt for some grouse. My mom and I were on our way to the cities to do a little shopping and have a girls weekend. It was a cold fall day, and the trees were warm and beautiful. They were burnt orange and warm yellow, and I could not take my eyes off of them. The trees were tall and broad, they were clothed in healthy, fresh leaves. I thought that nothing could go wrong on this pretty day. Right before my mom and I reached the turn to either go left and go the cities, or right, to go toward Grand Forks area where our family lives, my mom got a call. I have my headphones in at the time. She pulls over and stops the car. I am confused as to why she pulls over. My mom is the type of person who shows her emotions facially, and she can never hide her emotions. At this point I can tell that something is wrong so I take my headphones out and listen.
“What is going on? Who are you talking about? Is it Grandpa?,”I said.
“Grandpa Danny had a heart attack,” she said.
At that point of my life, my knowledge of what a heart attack is was very vague. I just automatically thought, the person’s heart stopped, and then they died. I did not cry or freak out like my mom was. I just sat there because I was so shocked. I had never had anything like that happen to me. Nobody in my family has ever been in a life or death health situation. I felt the leather on the seats heat up while I was clenching on to them, trying not to freak out. The rough leather was becoming soft*. I tried to calm my mom down and tell her that we do not know all the facts and he is alive right now and that is what matters. We decided to take that right turn, and go towards home and go to the Grand Forks hospital where he was.
All my mom wanted at that point, was to be able to call my dad and tell him what she knew and what had happened. But she could not, because the trapper shack is in the middle of nowhere and there was no service. Our three hour drive to Grand Forks felt like it was ten hours. Of course the weather was crappy, which did not help our mind set. The clouds were dark and the sky was grey like the mood. During the whole car ride, my mom was on the phone with her brothers and her mom, all talking about her dad. She was in tears the whole entire time.
We finally get to the hospital. We run to the front desk and urgently try to figure out where my Grandpa Danny is. He was on the third floor; The Intensive care unit floor. It smelled like chemicals right as we got there. We went up the elevator and right when we get out we see our family in the waiting room. We see my Uncle Todd, my Uncle Brad, my cousins Abby, Hannah, and Josh, and lastly, my Grandma Delores. My heart broke for her the first second I saw her. I felt so bad thinking of what kind of worry and sadness she must have been in at that moment. I laugh when I feel uncomfortable, so I awkwardly laughed when I hugged them all. I could tell that everyone was in distress.
Then, we wait.
Everyone but my grandma finally leaves to go to sleep. We still did not know if he was okay or not. The next morning we all went to the hospital bright and early. Once again, we sat in the waiting room, waiting. My cousin Abby and Uncle Brad and I decided to go to Starbucks to get some actually decent coffee. I will never forget when my Uncle Brad quietly said to us.
“Girls, you should possibly get something to wear to a funeral because things are not looking so good,” he said.
He was trying not to cry when he said it. That sentence that he had said brought my hopes down and put me in the realization that my grandpa may not make it. The taste of my sweet vanilla latte soon became bitter. My cousin Abby and I are very close. She is in the front seat and turned around to look at me. We both wear the same somber expression on our faces but both force a little smile to make the other feel better. When we got back to the waiting room, it was once again awkward and worrysome feeling. I felt better when I saw the other familiar faces of my family. In times like this, family becomes important. Once again, everyone is sitting in the waiting room.
“I am going to go to the bathroom,” I said.
I walk into the tiny hospital bathroom. During those past few days I hadn’t cried at all; I was trying to stay positive and didn’t want anybody in the family to see me cry. I broke down in tears in the bathroom. I thought about my grandpa's soft smile and imagined never being able to see it again. The bathroom walls were closing in on me, and laughing at me for hiding my tears from everyone.
I guess that those tears were good luck. A few hours later, we found out that he was okay and we could come to his room and see him. The bright white hospital walls became even brighter. I could almost hear everyone's breath of relief and peace. Being able to see him after being so worried was amazing. He was in bad shape, but he still was trying to crack a joke and make the mood a little bit more lighthearted when we saw him. That is just who he is. The room felt crowded at first, and I thought that since there was so many people in there, my grandpa would not notice me. But after he said the simple phrase, ‘Hi my Lucy”, (that's his nickname for me), I felt like it was only us two in the whole hospital.
Going through this experience has taught me to never take anything, especially family, for granted. I cherish every moment I get when I see my grandpa and how blessed my family is that he made it through that life or death experience. It taught me to be thankful for my puzzle, but know that it may not always be perfect and put together.
As we left the hospital that day, the trees were the exact same as they were before. The leaves were yellow and orange. But one thing that was not the same as it was before, was the sky. Rather than being grey and gloomy like the mood, it became sunny and light. It was God's way of saying your welcome and to never lose hope.
The Waiting Room