The Shattered Glass Heart

By , Bay Shore, NY
“Gdzie zgoda panuje tam sczescie swe gniazdo buduje” is a quote often said by my parents when frustration is at its peak. In English it means, when we work in unison good fortune shines upon us. The premise of the quote comes from my grandfather who always wanted us to be happy and calm. I saw this mentality first hand two years ago when I visited my grandparents in Poland. Visiting my grandparents for an entire summer was an experience that cannot be repeated or described in just a few words.

The summer began like any other with the sun shining high over the pool, the end of the school year, and the smell of Bar-B-Q lingering in the air. However mine also consisted of packing a suitcase. Spending an entire summer away from my friends and parents seemed like the most awful summer plan but this was one of those rare summers that I would never forget. After flying nine hours with my sisters sleeping on either side of me, all I had left was to count down the minutes until landing and embracing my grandparents whom I had not seen for 7 years. My mind was spinning with thoughts trying to remember every aspect of my grandparents; from the sound of their laughter to the aroma they carried. The excitement inside me grew when hearing cries and screams of joy were coming from the end of the airport hall. Scanning the crowd of hundreds looking for a pair of eyes I haven’t seen in years and when finally catching a glimpse of them tears arose and the embrace of my grandmother was the only thing I felt at that moment. The wait to see my grandfather grew longer as the amount of cars on the road increased creating traffic from Warsaw to Bialystok. After three hours of driving we finally drove up to a big yellow house with a man standing on the balcony of the second waving. Embracing my grandfather, warm tears ran down both our faces, the embrace tightened and time froze. The entire summer felt like a dream, long nights spent talking, looking through photographs and falling asleep to the laughter of my grandfather. Spending day after day painting yellow stars on the shed, making camp fires, story telling and sitting by the pool side with my grandfather made my summer unforgettable. There was not a day that was missing a laugh or a smile on my sisters, mine or grandparents faces. He looked at us with the warmth of his eyes and smile as if we were the greatest jewels ever found .My grandfather looked at us as if he were taking in every feature and burning it into his memory .At the end of the summer, I realized that I was about to be woken up from my dream summer. Our welcomes are being turned into goodbyes and the warm tears are not just running down our faces but pouring. The embraces tightened, sobs increased in volume and than we were on our way back home remembering everything we experienced.

On June 8th, 2010 I went from being airborne with all the memories of that 2009 summer to crashing down and finding out I lost the person that means the most to me. Czeslaw Zakiewicz; my grandfather at the age of 63 passed away the morning of June 8th. After spending an entire summer with him and getting to know him in a way I did not before, his death was the hardest experience I had to go through. Seeing his portrait in the front of the church the day of the memorial mass brought back the summer which was filled with laughter. Having my grandfather so far away in Europe made it harder to say goodbye because I still believe that he is still standing in front of the shed we painted together with stars. He has taught me to appreciate everything and everyone around me and to not waste a good day on frowning about something that can be changed. The memory of my grandfather will follow me wherever I go and a simple music note will bring back the summer we spent together.

This summer has been a repeat of the one two years ago but the person I looked up to was gone. The house empty, only whispers and hush noises filled the air. Entering the house that was once filled with laughter is now full of sorrow, but the memories remain. Spending the summer two years ago with my grandfather and than loosing him a year later has been an experience I would not want to wish on anyone but this entire occurrence has built my character and made me stronger as a person .I stand proud of who I am and I will remember the last summer spent with my grandfather and his smile which will always be looking down at me and brightening my day. Being the first generation born here, being bilingual and the first to go to college from my family, I believe my grandfather would be very proud to see how far I have gotten.





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AsH94 said...
Oct. 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm
this is the BEST essay i have ever read!! this definately should be published in  a magazine! :)
 
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