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It Actually Happened

It’s a sunny Thursday afternoon and I’m in the car with my dad and my brother Jesse. The mood seems really sad and I’m not sure why. My dad looks up at me with sad brown eyes. “Guys your grandpa’s not doing so well, he’s at the hospital in New Mexico and his blood pressure is high.” He keeps going on about my grandpa’s condition and says he has a chance of dying. I hear everything even though I don’t want to. I’m staring out the window looking out at all the stores and houses when my eyes start to water. Tears run down my cheeks turning the houses into colorful blobs. Once home finally in my room crying my dad tries to comfort me but it doesn’t change anything. I just want to be alone. While I’m acting like an emotional wreck my brother stands stone faced in the doorway.

The next morning my dad takes a plane ride to New Mexico with his brothers trying to get there as soon as possible. Jesse and I wait for our Aunt Kristin and cousins Veronika and Sage to get here so we can start on our trip to New Mexico. When they arrive we pack everything up and go on our way.

The trip lasts for seven long boring hours of sleeping and talking. We stop at the VA hospital first to visit our grandpa; it smells of coffee and old people. We meet up with my dad and his brothers, Larry and Jason. They warn us that when we see grandpa he’s not going to look the same which scares me a little. Before we can enter his room we have to put on these gown type things and latex gloves. The gown is way too big and the gloves are sticking to my hands from my sweat. Walking into his room I let my eyes adjust because it’s a little dark. My grandpa is hooked up to a heart machine, blood pressure medication, fluids and many other things I can’t name. There are blankets piled up high over his body and his face seems a bit swollen. His hands are covered in scabs and under the blankets I’m sure his body is too (the scabs are from when he fell on his way to the bathroom and had to drag himself to his wheelchair because both of his legs are amputated from the knee down). It was useless to talk to him because he didn’t respond I’m not even sure he could hear us. But it made me feel better to know that he was still here. His hand is ice cold and dry compared to my warm smooth one and I let go after a few minutes, trading places with Sage. More and more family arrive and its getting claustrophobic I decide to leave the room with my cousins. We wash our hands in the small sink, remove our gowns/gloves and walk to the waiting room. After several hours we finally leave. We plan to leave New Mexico on Monday since our grandpas condition is getting better thankfully.

Its Monday morning and I am all comfy in my pajamas as we arrive in the hospital. We all walk in and bad news already hits us “He’s refusing his medication and his condition is becoming worse”, the nurse tells us wearily. Our parents tell us to go talk to grandpa while they keep talking to the doctor as if we are too young to hear it when they’re just going to tell us later. I listen in on some of their conversation as I walk away and stop to listen “How much longer do you think he has to live without dialysis or medication?” “I’m not sure, he could die today or maybe tomorrow”, the nurse informs them. When I hear that it makes my blood run cold and I hurry towards my brother. Putting everything I heard In the back of my mind I try to act normal so Sage doesn’t cry. We all try talking to my grandpa but we have no idea what to say so it is mostly silent which is a little awkward. After about 30 minutes Kristin asks us to walk their dog Oskar, because he is in the hot car and probably thirsty.

Jesse, Veronika, Sage and I all go outside to walk Oskar; the air feels good on my face after being in the stuffy hospital. We go to the park where there are all these shiny, silver bars and beams for the patients to work out on. We make obstacle courses each taking turns holding Oskar. We are having fun laughing and talking relieving some of the stress but it’s all over too soon. Jesse gets a call from my dad telling him that we needed to come in. We put Oskar back into the car and race toward the hospital. All of our parents looked so depressed and I know it happened. My grandpa was dead. But I still ask “Is he gone?” My dad only nods as he envelopes Jesse and me in his arms. I sob into his chest getting his shirt all wet while Jesse stands there, no tears but I know he’s feeling something he just won’t show it, he’s good at that. There are two chairs next to the front desk Veronika, Sage, and I share them. The chairs aren’t comfortable but I don’t care. The receptionist gives us tissues that are really soft and we keep on crying for 20 minutes or so. There is a hole burning through my head as strangers stare at me with pity, I don’t want their pity I want them to go away, to look away as if I’m not here. In the back ground some lady even says “Aww look they're crying”. I ignore those people wondering if I told my grandpa that I loved him before I left, knowing that was the last time I saw him or talked to him. It makes me horribly sad and at the end of the day everyone is numb. Today is April 18, 2011. The funeral is scheduled for the next Monday so all we have to do is wait which is the worst thing to do. I have so much time to think and I don’t want it.

It is the morning of the funeral and there are only sullen faces. The clothes are black along with the mood. We get to the church and start setting everything up. The church is quickly filled with mourning people and sad faces. When it’s time for all the grand children to bless grandpa with the holy water I am the one who gets to hold the bucket. The water sloshes around and I accidently tip it a little bit. The thing we’re supposed to use to put the water on his container falls out and hits the ground with a thud. My face warms up with a blush and I try to laugh it off. But I can’t help it I’m so embarrassed. “That was embarrassing”, I tell my sister Shelby. “It’s okay”, she says smiling. Once that’s over the family members closest to him walk out including me. The ceremony is finished after a lot of crying and praying, plus my mortifying moment. I get into my dad’s truck with Jesse, Shelby, and my cousins. We drive to the cemetery where our grandpa will be buried with his wife.

The burial site isn’t too big and as I get out of the car I see a crowd already forming at his soon to be grave. I stop at the grave and send a prayer to my grandma who is already under ground. The air is cool and crisp and the wind whips my hair at my face. I jog back to the truck careful not to fall down and grab my brother’s letter jacket. I pull it on and feel instantly warm. I get back and almost everyone has arrived. My cousin’s Kane and Shey give me a red rose and tell me it is to throw in grandpa’s grave. The wind blows a petal off and I watch it fly in the wind and land on the dirt ground. The honor guards fire their guns with a bang in honor of my grandpa’s service and it makes me jump. The priest talks for a little and then the trumpet guy starts to play a sad sounding song. The crying is slowly starting up and grows when the roses are put in. After I put my rose in I start to cry along with almost everyone else. The air is filled with the loud sobs of mourning people and I cling to Jesse’s side not wanting to be alone but he takes a step away. After a good five minutes everyone but Veronika, Sage, Me and a few other people have left. I finish crying and walk alone back to the truck hearing Veronika and Sage's steps behind me. I always imagined this happening but now it really is and it is worse than I expected. Everyone gets to the banquet thing and stands in line for food. After about two hours of conversing with other family members, my family leaves back to Colorado in our four cars. This experience has changed me so much. I love my grandpa and I know that he is up in heaven watching over me with my grandma. He will be in my heart forever.




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