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A New Pair of Eyes
I began my journey soaring above the clouds ever so high, just coasting along. It was as if I had flown through heaven, the golden gates seemed to be in arms length. My heart bubbled with immense joy and freedom. The Earth belonged to me, the sky belonged to me, and I had not a care in the world. Then I started to fall, beginning my long descent through the blue sky now turning a deep, dark gray. Nevertheless, everything changed at such a fast pace. Why is this happening? How could such a good thing go horribly wrong? I was certainly not Ovid’s Icarus; I did not fly too close to the sun. My mind had not been consumed by the curiosity of a young boy with too much freedom. I had listened to my Daedalus. My head throbbed, my ears rang. A constant buzzing took over my ears: I am not ready to die, I am just not ready. Steadily, the pulsating ringing grew louder and louder in intensity. My world fell swiftly beneath my feet, the sky slowly faded away, and everything became hazy. While lying in bed, I contemplated and stared up at the bumpy ceiling with a blank glaze and broke out in a cold sweat. I slowly rolled over, looked at my alarm clock and turned it off with great relief. That awful, chiming noise vanished, and I began to firmly grasp reality again. It was 5:30 in the morning, the sun still sleeping in the cover of the clouds and the grass glistened with morning dew. Unprepared and unwilling to start my day, I gave in and started to go about my morning activities. Something dreadful was about to happen; I could feel it coursing through my veins and running through my body.
Then it happened; I heard the phone ring and my mind immediately flashed back to my bizarre dream. All of a sudden my mind reverted back to falling and I had a strange, sinking feeling in my stomach. It felt as though I dreamt out loud. All I could do was stop and stare at the phone with a blank look. My mother called to me and told me to pick up the phone, but I would not do it, I could not do it. Stumbling as she rushed, she ran toward the phone, and answered it with great urgency. Nobody calls my family at that hour, nothing good could come of this call. Then I saw them, two lonely tears building up in the corner of my mother’s worn eyes. The tension in the air rose to a height so high and became so thick that one could have cut it with a knife. I had no clue about what had just happened; all I could do was sit and watch my mother break down. My heart sank down in my chest; I could not stand to see her like this. Her gentle, hazel eyes now clouded with sadness, and her brown hair seemed more grey than ever. She had aged so much and I never really realized this until now, so much for being observant. Eventually, my mother pulled herself together as much as she possibly could. Every time she began to tell my father and me what had happened, her voice would break and she would start to cry again. After a third attempt, she finally told us: Grandma Rose had taken a fall and was rushed to the hospital. Could it have been my grandmother? Short in stature and kind of heart, my grandmother had always been there for me. When I needed comforting, she sat me down, gave me a cookie she had baked herself and patted me on the back. The sign in her kitchen said, “Entering Grandma’s Kitchen. Warning, Children Spoiled by the Second.” Every moment I spent in her kitchen I had been spoiled. Maybe someone had called the wrong number; I doubted it. Time seemed to stop at this moment, everything froze, yet I still moved. As I rushed around I tried to figure out what was going on and how this could happen. I slipped on our wooden floors because my socks did not give me enough traction, so much for being graceful. I ran around trying to find a clock, how could I not find the time? I found this to be quite ridiculous; after all, we have approximately twelve clocks in our house. It felt as if I were on the outside looking in, blind to everything happening but still able to see. My world dropped beneath my feet, the sky became colorless, and everything blurred. I wanted to fall apart right then and there.
It turns out that my grandmother died on the way to the hospital; the speeding ambulance could not travel fast enough and the paramedics could not save her. I took the easy way out by blaming them for her death. How could they let her die? She meant everything in the world to my mother and me. How could they? Consumed by rage and poisoned by anger, I could not think clearly. And so we packed our travel bags and loaded them into our small car. We had taken that car on countless journeys, mostly up to my grandmother and grandfather’s house in Pennsylvania for holidays. Unfortunately, this time we did not visit my grandpa for a pleasant occasion but a very depressing one. Before we left, I wrote a poem about my grandmother describing my emotions concerning her death:
How did this come to be?
I hope you will always be with me.
Days passed by and days to come,
You will always be my number one.
From baking cookies to making pie,
I will always love you until the day I die.
When I do, I hope to see,
You singing happily.
Among the angels you will stay
In our hearts, in every way.
I never got a final chance to say,
“I love you grandma, you make my day.”
From the weather to homework,
I loved to get your calls.
I am sorry that I was not there more often to hug you, love you and stand tall.
I will always love you until the day I die.
When I do, I hope to see,
You singing happily,
Among the angels you will stay,
In our hearts, in every way.
After 14 long hours of travel, we completed our drive and arrived at my grandfather’s house. The home had an ominous aura surrounding it; everything seemed so familiar yet so different. I knew why, my father knew why, and my mother knew why, but we had to see it for ourselves. So we walked in to meet my grandfather. His eyes were bloodshot, his face swollen and his spirit dampened. We walked around the house only to have our denial and fear of my grandmother’s death confirmed: my grandmother was not there. Her kitchen was empty and the smell of freshly baked goods no longer lingered in the room.
Time passed by quickly, hours upon hours flew by, and days passed in no time. All of a sudden, it was the day of my grandmother’s funeral. I consider this day to be a pivotal moment in my life, a day filled with emotions I cannot even begin to describe. My mother and I walked into the dark, funeral home, hand-in-hand, with my father close behind. Strange people started coming into the room where my grandmother was lying down. These unfamiliar faces walked up to me and offered my family their condolences. Confusion swept through my mind; I did not know who these people were or how they had any relation to my grandmother. The unfamiliarity scared me and I started to cry, so much for being brave. The scent of roses filled the room; I still associate the smell of this flower with my grandma’s death. Her face was very serene, her hands cold with death and her skin very stiff and motionless. Then, a tall, pale man asked everybody to move into a separate room; the service was about to begin. At that moment, the pastor asked if anybody wanted to visit Grandma Rose; nobody did. So I tugged on my mother’s dress and we went to see Grandma Rose one last time. Touched by my poem, my mother told me that Grandma Rose would have liked to have been buried with a copy of my writing and a picture of me, so I placed the poem and picture on her soft, pink gown. I would be with her forever, or maybe I should say she would be with me forever. Then my mother and I walked back into the room; I could feel everybody’s eyes upon me as I took my seat next to my uncle. Then two men walked into the room where Grandma Rose was lying and began to close the casket. As eerie silence fell upon the room, you could hear every little noise; the dominant one seemed to be the closing of the coffin. The final click of the latch resonated through the room and I began to cry. I could not contain the sadness I had bottled up inside. Then, the pastor proceeded with the ceremony and finally asked if anybody would like to say something. There I sat, poem and tissue in hand, ready to go and read my poem from my heart. Reading my poem in front of all those people presented a great challenge to me; I had to pause in between every line to cry. Finally, I finished reading through my whole poem and then walked back to my seat. Nobody else chose to say anything about Grandma Rose; I still do not understand anybody’s reasoning behind their actions.
On that fateful day, I learned many lessons that would stick with me for a lifetime. First, always do what your heart tells you, because nobody wants a shadow of regret looming over him or her for all eternity. From my grandmother’s death, I came to a self realization: I am a very sensitive and loving person with a creative mind. Having seen the effect of my poem on the people at the funeral, I realized that I can touch the lives of many people through my poetry and way with words. It is amazing to see how creativity and the power of language could make such an impact on people’s lives. For this reason, I gained a new sense of maturity; I now see the world through a different pair of eyes. Through my grandmother’s death I realized that the bond between my mother, my father and me is very strong since we could pull through this and still manage to carry on with our lives afterwards. In the end, I have changed from this experience; I am more aware of myself and the ever-changing world around me.