When He Left MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   He could thrill me with his jokes, and intrigue me with his stories. He was endearing, brilliant, and selfless as anyone I had ever known. I cannot even begin to explain the love I had for him , the admiration for him that burned so deeply inside of me. Everything about him was fascinating , his humor, his ability to make perfect strangers open up to him as though he were their brother, and the way he refused to back down no matter what the situation. He was as strong in heart as he was in character , and what a character he was! This wonderful man who was remembered everywhere he went, could make even the sternest personality soft and light-hearted. He represented the ideal of what all men and women should strive to be. No, I do not exaggerate when I say that my grandfather had to be one of the greatest men who ever lived.

I remember Grandpa had been ill for nearly five months. He was constantly in and out of the hospital, but this last time he had been there for almost two months. He had been vacillating ever since the sextuple bypass. Some days Mom would come home smiling and laughing and telling me all about how Grandpa had made the doctors and nurses fall to their knees laughing. The next day she would come home crying uncontrollably with hardly any words except "He's hanging in there." It was a seesaw for the family. What were the doctors doing? What weren't the doctors doing? We wanted to take our lives off hold, and we wanted Grandpa to join us.

This one day I thought was going to be just another "down" day on Grandpa's seesaw. When Mom came home at the usual hour, I was greatly surprised when she merely looked at me and whispered, "I need to talk to you when you're through on the phone." As she gently closed the door, I noticed the tears in her troubled eyes, and the way her hand trembled as she clasped the doorknob.

I cannot quite describe the look on Mom's face. I can only say that it was not one that I have ever seen before, nor was it one that I will ever forget.

When I reached the living room, she was sitting in the dark, the lights from the street shone through the window and across her face. She was so still as she gazed into nothingness. I suddenly became afraid to approach her and break her silent trance, but she felt my presence and slowly turned. Neither of us said a word as she ushered me into her arms and we sat holding each other. She didn't have to tell me, it was all too obvious. She cried and cried, but I couldn't. Maybe I needed to hear the words, or see him for the last time. Then maybe I would believe that Grandpa was dead.

It went on like this the next couple of days. It isn't real, I thought to myself. Why can't I cry? How do I know if this is really happening? We had the funeral, and even as I looked at his grave, I had this childish notion that Grandpa was still in the hospital and would soon come home, smiling, laughing and joking as usual.

I was angry at myself for not crying. I prayed for Grandpa's forgiveness. I would sit in my room and think for hours, but I could not come to the realization that he was really gone.

About two months later, I was rummaging through some old letters and I found one he had written me during my first year at overnight camp when I was eight. He had written, "God bless you, you are getting to be quite a young lady. The part of your letter where you say, AGrandpa, I love you forever and ever.' I must tell you this , any time you need or want anything, Dania, it's yours for the asking, sweetheart."

Suddenly everything hit me: no more would I hear those words from his mouth! No more could he kiss and hug me! I was relieved to let out the pain that had been stashed away for so long. But I was also relieved in knowing something else , these letters, these pictures, and these memories all would serve to keep Grandpa alive. Grandpa would live forever in my heart. n

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