Our Special Hero

May 7, 2008
By Taylor Martin, LaVista, NE

That awful day in December 2004, I was preparing for one of the worst events of my life. I remember telling my grandpa over and over, “I love you so much!” He was in the hospital and wasn’t doing so great. He had been in the hospital many times previous to his last visit. We all knew he was getting too weak to continue on. We also knew that the only reason he had fought so hard was because of us, his family.

When I looked at him all I wanted to do was remember the good times we had spent together. When I was in elementary school he would always pick me up after school and he would watch me during the summers while my mom worked. During this time we would look through his coin collection and try and place them in his coin books. We would spend hours upon hours sorting through the thousands of coins he had managed to collect over his lifetime. One summer we spent the whole day searching and sorting through coins. We would look through all the years on the coins and see who could find the oldest one; it was sort of a competition. We would usually end up sorting through the coins every day during the summers because we both enjoyed it so much. We would also count the money in my piggy bank. He used to get mad at me because I would want to count it every time we got the coins out. My grandma couldn’t understand why we enjoyed sorting coins so much.

I loved spending time with my grandpa because he would share his life stories with me. He would tell me stories about his childhood, trying to teach my grandma and her sisters to drive, and the time his brother committed suicide.

I also remember him helping me with my softball and even football skills. When I was little I used to love playing sports, especially football with my older brother. My grandpa was the one who got me interested in softball so he helped me practice. I wanted to be a pitcher really badly after watching Kat Osterman of the Texas Longhorns pitch at the Women’s College World Series. We worked on my batting skills, my pitching techniques, and even fielding techniques. One night my grandpa was trying to teach me how to pitch and I just couldn’t do it. I was getting so irritated, he told me to just focus on his glove, to just play catch. It actually worked; I used that when I would play on my summer leagues. I will never forget these moment’s, they are so special to me. I just loved spending all the time I could with my grandpa.

Somehow he knew he wasn’t going to live much longer. His intuition was right; he just wanted to go home. I remember the day the doctors released him from the hospital and ordered Hospice, nurses who go to houses to take care of dying patients, to go with him. After we arrived home he didn’t live much longer, a day and a half to be exact. Everybody in our family had been there except for one person, my aunt who lived out of town. We all thought that he was trying to hold on until she arrived but he just didn’t have the strength.

Remembering his final day and night is really hard for me. I managed to sleep by him that final night. I laid there telling him, “I love you so much and it’s ok to let go.” I didn’t want to say it but I knew that it was selfish if I didn’t. He listened to me and the rest of my family. The next day he finally let go, but it was harder than I had expected. I was holding his hand when he took his last breath and I still can’t get over that fact. All I can remember is that I was sad, but happy. I was happy he was in a better a place and that he was no longer suffering.

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