Things A Child Doesn't Know

February 24, 2010
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Death is one of the most heart-wrenching, tear-jerking events in movies these days. I recently just saw The Time Traveler’s Wife, and, not to spoil it, the time traveler dies in the end. Of course, I cried and it was really sad. But I haven’t really been affected by death yet this far into my life. Sure, I’ve known people that have died, like a close friend of the family who gave me my first haircut. Besides that, the worst experience I have with death is my cat.

Mistress, I called her Missy, was the best cat in the entire world. She was so beautiful and soft. I can still remember her even though it was so long ago. I had such an attachment with her. Every morning I would wake up and walk down stairs to the living room. My mom would be on the couch watching TV and Missy would be sitting right there. She was waiting for me. If I could have, I would have sat there all day with her. I’ve never met another animal that I’ve had such a close bond with.

Then my brothers would wake up and stomp down the stair, sending my cat running the other direction.

Some mornings, she was still upstairs when I woke up. I would lift her up on the counter and turn the sink on. She would drink and drink and I would help her down when she was done. Then I would find her brush and run to find her. That would always scare her and she’d dash under the bed. But there I was, crawling under right behind her to brush her. Even after all that cat was put through, she did not once bite or scratch me.

Then she got sick. My mom tried to give her pills, but they weren’t working. I remember her last night. We were all around her and I was petting her. I don’t think that I quite understood what was going to happen the next day, but I can still hear her purring on her last night.

The next day we took my Missy to the vet, said goodbye, and never saw her again.

My great grandma is the only person in my family who has died, but she was 93. A lot of my friends have lost their grandparents in the past few years and I always feel bad to tell them I have 6 grandparents. I have my mom’s parents, my dad’s mom and step-dad, and my dad’s dad and step-mom. But I didn’t known that until I was about 8.

We were heading to North Carolina to visit my dad’s mom and, as far as I knew his dad. Halfway there my dad said something that I don’t remember. But I do know that I was shocked. Whatever it was he said let me know that Grandpa Don was not my real grandpa. What the heck! It was just like the day I found out what a middle name was, but instead of writing my name all over my wall, I was just scared. I was terrified that my Grandpa Don wasn’t going to be my grandpa anymore. When I asked my parents what was going to happen, they said that everything would be the same. We would still call him grandpa and he would still love us.

When we got to grandma and grandpa’s house, nothing had changed. The only difference was that I finally realized my parents called my grandparents Mom and Don and not Mom and Dad. He’s still my Grandpa Don, though.

This did mean that I had another grandpa out there. Little did I know, he’s been sending me cards on my birthday and Christmas my entire life, but it wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I really began to wonder about him. I would always ask my parents, when are we going to meet Grandpa Jim, his wife Betty and my Uncle Chris. There’s this whole part of my dad and my family that I don’t know about. It’s not that they don’t want me to, but we just have never met. My dad finally started to email him and told him that I wanted to meet him. He wanted to meet my brothers and me, too. Maybe the next chapter of my life will include the topic that is more heart-wrenching and tear-jerking that death.

The grand reunion.

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