March 5, 2010
September 2004. I was naïve, uncaring, young, and ungrateful. As horrible as I feel admitting this today, I was unconcerned. I hadn’t realized what an important person in my life I’d just lost. I had lost my grandfather, my mother’s father. A man who’d lived with us in my own house for so long, and when he’d passed away, I was left unaffected.

He’d passed away in September 2004. I remember it so clearly. I was coming home from the second week of school, looking out the window, daydreaming. The blurred colors of autumn, yellow, red, and orange flashed by. I was excited to arrive home; my mother had been away in the Philippines for so long, spending as much time as possible with my grandfather. The first thing I saw when I came home was my mothers eyes; red, horribly puffy and obviously upset. The first thing I heard? A blank whisper, he’s gone. It was like she wasn’t there; she’d said it so robotically, so unemotionally. I felt remorse, but not because I was sad that my own grandfather had passed away, but because I couldn’t stand to see my mother mourning, so upset.

It wasn’t until four years later, and it is still hard for me to admit this, that I finally realized what a great person I’d lost. It was like any other day, I was wasting my time, avoiding the loads of homework I had sitting next to me, on myspace and facebook, chatting to my friends. The awareness of my loss flowed over me. There wasn’t anything that triggered the sadness and the realization. I just realized, my thoughts where nowhere near having to do anything with my grandfather. But I broke down. I was an emotional mess. I bawled and bawled, missing my grandfather dearly.

I’d gotten lost in the memories of the great times I’d spent with my grandfather. I remember it perfectly, the sunny day, the great aroma of a warm summer day, the smell of fresh manure, even what he was wearing - his granny overalls. He loved those faded blue denim overalls, and wore them often. I wore my red dress, one of my favorites, decorated with yellow tulips. The dress frilled out at the bottom. I skipped around in my giant sneakers, braces, my dress, with a happy, goofy grin on my face. I looked up to see the warm smile of my Lolo. I was so excited to play the game that I ran as fast as my seven-year-old legs could take me. We began at the top of my long gravel driveway. I knew the routine, I was determined to win, to do this fast. I looked down, to the “parking lot” I’d drawn in with green chalk and the reflection of the sun burned my eyes. I was ready, making my best make-believe motorcycle engine noises, I hurled myself, and my blue boy bike down our driveway as fast as possible, gaining speed, going faster and faster down our mini hill I was going so fast that I couldn’t even identify a tree from the fence leading to our backyard. The expression of my Lolo was a mesh of tan, black, and denim blue overalls. I raced into my garage, quickly taking a sharp turn to grab the plump, wrinkly raisins from the tip of the old, plastic, blue hanger that we’d borrowed from my mother’s giant closet. I raced through the other door of my garage, and coming out the other side. I threw down my bike, into the “parking lot,” shoving the raisins into my tiny mouth Oh how good victory tasted. We’d played this game repeatedly, with many different types of healthy snacks.
I remembered the many times my Lolo had stood up for me. My sisters, closer to each other in age, would always bully and tease me, like any other typical 12 year old, I think I’m so mature older sisters. My Lolo always played solitaire, allowing me to sit and watch while he played. I loved watching him play, mostly because I’d be bored out of my mind, because he always hogged the T.V, rolling up his daily newspaper, and swatting our little butts away from the remote, making it impossible to change the channel. I would always run to him when my older sisters bullied me; my mother wanted me to be independent and stick up for myself, but knowing me, the baby seven year old, I ran and hid behind my great Lolo, and he would swat them away like the flies that annoyingly buzz around your kitchen when you’re trying to cook. I came back to reality, realizing how I had taken him for granted. It had taken me so long to realize how much I missed him, emotions were just pouring out of me. I bawled and bawled, waking up the next morning, my eyes full of tears, remorse, and puffiness from the last night’s episode of crying. I’d missed my Lolo.

The loss of my grandfather thought me many things. After realizing he was gone, the sadness that washed over me showed me how much I value and love my family. It exaggerated the importance of my family, and that they should, and are first priority no matter what. I am so appreciative that I have my sisters to lean on, especially my older sister, whom I’ve grown so close to. I’m happy to have my mother and father to guide me through the tough times in my life. I wouldn’t be happier with any other people around me as family. The value of my family has since increased greatly, not that I didn’t value them before. I wouldn’t be able to bear losing any other family member. The awareness of my loss made me determined to do well, to make him proud. To have him look down on me and feel that he was glad and proud to say that I was his grandchild; for him to look at me the same way I think of him. I will be successful for him, continuing with volleyball as long as I can, do well in school, go to a great college and keep trying no matter what. I love you Lolo, and I am so grateful to say that you where my grandfather. You’ve taught me so much, and I will make you proud. I miss you.

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