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Whether you’re giving someone a million dollars or just being friendly toward others, compassion is something that matters a lot. It could be as simple as someone being nice to another person or listening to someone when they have a problem. I learned about this kind of compassion from my grandfather at a young age- not only through his words and actions, but through our close relationship, as well. I was extremely lucky to have such a grandfather- a man that cared about me even more than himself; despite his three heart attacks and two surgeries back in my homeland of Armenia. My grandfather suffered severe pain, but he managed to find the time to listen to me and play with me, nevertheless.
I recall when my grandfather began telling me a story one sleepless night. It became our nightly ritual as I fell sound asleep with a smile on my face under the low tone of his narrative.
By the time I was eight, my dear grandpa became very sick. None of the doctors in the cold hospitals could perform surgery on him. They said that my grandfather’s heart would not be able to withstand it and there was a large probability of death.
“No! Don’t leave, grandpa!” I remember crying out. Before my grandpa left, I watched him comb his gray hair and pack a few striped shirts, along with a pair of pants. He kissed me on my tiny little cheek, patted my curly brown haired head, and we waved a heartrending goodbye to each other.
After a few weeks of staying in the hospital, Grandpa finally returned. Unfortunately, he became much too weak to come and pick me up from school, and other members of my family had to. But they never gave me money for ice cream, and I couldn’t tell them about my day like I told my grandpa- it was never the same.
One day, my grandpa told me, “Lucy, you’re a very special girl. You care for me more than anyone else does and I love you.” My little brown eyes then got watery, but I didn’t want to show my tears. These words meant almost everything to me at that time. I will never forget them. When my grandfather did not feel well, he would always tell me he was. I knew that it was his own way of telling me not to worry about him. I always did. I remember running to him when he called. Most of the time, he wanted a glass of water or his slippers. I ran happily getting his gray slippers out of the closet. That was my way of saying thank him for all the kindness he showed towards me. I knew my grandpa was becoming more and frailer with each passing day. His weakness tore my heart. I sensed his strain to keep a smile on his face for me, and I felt guilt that my smiles came with so much ease.
On February 10, 2003, snowflakes fell from the sky as I ran down the stone steps of my elementary school. It was three o’clock and I waved at my father waiting for me outside. He had tears in his eyes.
“What’s wrong, dad?” I remember asking him with a look of horror. And it was then that it hit me so hard, I could have sworn I had felt it. I didn’t want to think about it. It couldn’t be true. My dad would say something else and my tragic thought would go up in the air like smoke. I would forget about everything and run home happily.
“Lucy, your grandpa passed away today.”
I drew a breath. Closed my eyes. Silence.
My dad took my hand and took me into our car. No third grader could have felt worse. At that moment I was sure of it. We didn’t say a word, just sat there in silence. My tears were half an hour of hard raindrops, falling down from the heartbroken sky.
Nobody but my journal knew how sad I felt about my grandfather’s death, and how tragic the event was to me, despite my hysteria. My grandfather was my best friend, and I know and believe that his spirit will be with me forever.
I will never forget my grandfather, or the way that he treated me. I hope to love my children and grandchildren more than myself- the way that grandpa loved me. My grandfather was a true man, and his goodness will FOREVER remain etched in my heart.