18

By
Researchers have often pondered upon what the strongest object in the world is. Is it an indestructible metal, super glue, or something else still unknown to man? Until recently, I have also thought about the same question on many occasions. Then, from a series of unexpected events, I realized the strongest object in the world is not an object at all. It is a belief, a value, and a feeling.

I sat in the dim church I had known so well from attending mass with my grandparents, Nana and Papa. The sound of sniffles and sobs engulfed me. The funeral service had just ended, and my uncle Larry approached the alter and cleared his throat. When the church fell silent, he started his eulogy. “On April 5th, 2008, a great man was taken from our lives. As a father, a grandfather, a brother, a husband, and a friend, James Hayes touched the lives of many.”

I managed to tune the rest out. It hurt to remember how Papa had been such a great man. As I was examining the stained glass windows that rested above the crucifix, my uncle finished the eulogy. Most of his words didn’t process in my brain, but there was one story he told that stuck in my mind. When my grandpa was rushed to the hospital for complete heart block, he was on the verge slipping into unconsciousness. In a desperate attempt to keep him alert, the paramedic had asked him how many grandchildren he had. “Eighteen,” my papa had replied proudly, his cheeky grin flickering on his lips.

“I bet you can’t name them all,” the paramedic had challenged.
“I bet you I can!” Papa had declared. “There’s Matty, Andrew, Katie, Patrick, Meg, Ryan, Kelly, Colleen, Erin, Laura, Daniel, Katherine, Harrison, John Daniel, baby John, Luke, Madeline, and Meredith.”
In his sick and dire state, my papa had managed to name all of his grandchildren. I could visualize him grinning proudly as he listed off his grandchildren’s names. I could clearly hear his silly laugh at the look of shock on the paramedic’s face when he finished. The chuckle was so clear in my mind that it sounded like it was echoing off the walls of the church.

The story brought a smile to my face, the first time I had smiled all day. That was one thing Papa had always been able to do; he could make anybody smile. It didn’t matter if you were in the worst mood, he would find a way to make you happy again.

The priest spoke, interrupting my thoughts, “I would like to invite James’ grandchildren to stand by his casket and join me in saying the ‘Our Father’.”

All eighteen of us got up out of the pews, and encircled Papa’s casket. My cousin Andrew supported my little cousin John, and we all rested our hands on the shiny white-gold casing. After saying the prayer, we all stepped back. Eighteen hand prints, each unique in their own way, were imprinted on our papa’s casket.

These experiences have taught me that the love of a family is irreplaceable. It is impenetrable, and unbreakable. It can withstand even the most grueling perils, and in tough times it will triumph. A family’s love is stronger than indestructible metals and super glue. It is the strongest thing in the world.





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Drew L. said...
May 27, 2009 at 1:23 am
Marvelous work. Very much enjoyed the use of you Grandfather's funeral, and how well you painted the church.

-----------------------------------------
Reccomendations:
1)Spend a little bit more time with the conclusion. Your anecdote is touching, but I want to hear more of what you have to say about the family, and how your story has entirely changed you.

2)Cut the Lard - It's hard to get across exactly what we mean as writers sometime, but it... (more »)
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback