No Snow Angels Today

October 11, 2009
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Fall has always been my favorite time of year. It’s the time of year school resumes and you start all over again with a fresh, clean slate. Also, the leaves change colors, the air has that fresh, crisp, autumn scent, and it starts to get colder, my favorite part. However, the fall of my fourth grade year was a little different. My parents told me my grandpa had developed Leukemia. I didn’t take it too seriously because on T.V. you always hear about miracle stories where the people get better and live. My grandpa will be one of those people I thought, he isn’t going to die. Even though I’d never really gotten to know my grandpa, I didn’t want him to die. He was my Papa. I loved him.

Weeks went by and fall faded into winter, but my grandpa wasn’t making any progress. My mom would drive up to Sandusky most weekends to visit and help take care of him.

“I love you, honey,” my mom said before she left. “I’ll be back in a few days.”

“When will I get to go up and see grandpa?” I asked. “I miss him.”

“Soon. He’s not doing too well right now.” Then she was gone.

I know it was hard for my mom to watch her dad die, but it was just as hard for me to face reality; I had lost my chance of getting to know my grandpa. In the past when we had a family get togethers, I chose to play with my cousins over talking to him thinking, “I’ll just spend time with him next time I see him.”

“We’re going to go up to Sandusky this weekend to see your grandpa,” my dad told me.

“Okay, cool. I miss him a lot,” I replied.

So that weekend we drove up to Sandusky to see my grandpa, the man who used to give me great big bear hugs. The doctors said his time was getting short, but I refused to believe it. He was going to live.
It was hard for me to see the condition he was in. He sat placidly in his chair in the living room. I would sit out there too thinking of what I could say to him. Nothing seemed like it was the right thing to say. Why was talking to my grandpa so hard? I thought. Just say something. But something held me back.
When he wasn’t in his chair, he’d sit out on the front porch and smoke cigars, motionless and soundless, staring off into the distance. I wanted to go sit by him so badly but, once again, I held myself back.
My grandpa also had Alzheimer’s. I couldn’t imagine being in his shoes. It would be so hard for me getting up every morning knowing I was dying and knowing that I may go to bed and never wake up again.

We only stayed for two short days, but I still got to see him a little and tell him I loved him. “That will do until next time I see him,” I told myself.

The next week I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I was so mad at myself for not talking to him. I needed something to take my mind off of him for a few seconds at least.

On Saturday morning when I woke up, the ground was completely white and it was still snowing like crazy. Playing out in the snow for a day was exactly what I needed to feel better.

“Hey Lauren, do you want to go out and play in the snow,” I asked my best friend over the phone.

“Sure, I’ll get ready now,” she replied.

“Let’s make a big fort and lots of snow angels!” I said. I was so happy. I couldn’t wait to begin my fun day.

I had just gotten all bundled up when my dad stopped me. I didn’t recognize the look on his face. The sad, endless look in his eyes made my stomach quiver.

“Honey,” my dad said slowly, his voice wavering with tears forming in his eyes. “Your grandpa died early this morning.”

I couldn’t take it all in. My head started spinning and I couldn’t control it. Breathe I told myself. My grandpa didn’t die. He wasn’t supposed to. He just couldn’t. He was my grandpa. I still needed to let him know how much I loved him. This must be a nightmare I told myself. It has to be.

But my nightmare was reality. My grandpa had died. There would be no snow angels made today.

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