Crying Shame

May 15, 2008
By Josh Goldstein, Lake St. Louis, MO

The driver’s door slams and I’m awakened, seven years old again with my “young-mans” tux and cute clip on tie. I close my door and walk across the neatly mowed and dew covered lawn into the building where the funeral procession is being held. Finding my seat with my older brother and parents, we sit and greet others, I don’t understand why I’m the only one with a smile when I say hello. Why will no one give me a pleasant hello? Why is there water in their eyes, what is so sad? Someone died, it’s not like the world is ending. I sit anyways and stare forward waiting, for what I’m not sure. Someone from my family begins to talk, at least I think they are my family. When she sits down my uncle stands to read a beautiful poem that stirs something in me. I look to up and to my right to see my brother now has tears in his eyes. Why am I not sad, why can’t I cry? Should I cry?

My father walks to the front and toward the picture of my grandfather on top of the white marble coffin. Quickly bowing his head my dad continues on to the podium. During the speech tears well back into my, previously perceived as invincible, father’s eyes. Continuing down the line of siblings, my aunt steps into place and gives her speech.

This is when my thoughts roam. Why am I not sad; my grandfather died, gone forever and never able to share time with me again. I have no connection to him. No, shut up, that’s not true. I love Grandpa Goldstein. Don’t I? Of course I do, but I don’t know what that means, because I don’t know who he is or was rather. That’s what it is, we didn’t talk enough, and I didn’t get to know him while he was here. Blame not sadness is felt. Through every fiber in me I begin to melt. Tears finally come to my eyes, but not from depression, in guilt. I feel shame inside me for not appreciating what I had, not getting to know the man who was the reason for my life, for not getting to know the man that instilled everything in my father that he has intern instilled in me. Shame is what I deserve. Shame is what I bare. I bow my head, tears now readily flowing from my eyes, and when I raise it again, I have turned sixteen.
Every day I strive to be better for him, to do what I think he would approve of. Every day I claw at getting more, achieving something new, and do what I can to impress the man who in death taught me one of life’s great lessons; if for no other reason than living in the moment, appreciate what you have and live for what could be lost.

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