I didn’t really get why my family was so sad. I mean I get that my grandpa is in the hospital but why are they crying? All he’s getting done are test right? Knowing my grandpa he’s going to pass them all! He’s such a smart guy; I think that’s where I get it from. I see my mom and my grandma rush up to the doctor. He’s saying something to them and my mom is translating it to Spanish so my grandma understands. When I grow up I want to be my grandma’s translator. Oh no. Why is my grandma crying? Is my grandpa okay? I look up at my aunt and she notices my worried face. “Deja voy a ver que dijo el doctor. Let me go see what the doctor said,” she says to me. My grandma tells my aunt something and I see her sigh in relief. She puts her hand over my grandma’s shoulder and says something in Spanish. I gather the strength to go up there and ask my mom what’s going on. “No tiene cancer! He doesn’t have cancer, but he is sick.” Cancer? What is that? I’m guessing it’s something bad by the way my mom said it. I turn to my grandma and see her crying. When she notices I’m staring at her, she wipes the trail of tears and manages to grin at me. I don’t like this place. I want to leave and go sing songs with my grandpa again.
You never know what’s going to happen with Leopoldo. He’s such a kid at heart; you become tired before he does! I love visiting him when he has doctor appointments. Even though I don’t get to go, I like spending time with my grandma. My mom goes to the appointments with my grandpa. Even though he’s been living in the country for 12 years, his English is still not good. He’s about to leave to his appointment when he calls me over.
“Ven Leslie. Come Leslie,” I hear him yell. I go over to his room and he him holding this weird contraption. “It’s a spirometer,” he says once he notices I can’t figure out what it does. He blows into it and I see the little balls inside go up. “2500. That’s where the doctor wanted me to get it to before today!” He hands me the little contraption and I blow into it. The first try I don’t budge the little ball. “Push all of your air out with one single breath,” he explained. Before I tried again my mom came into the room and told my grandpa it was time to go.
“Keep practicing and show me when you get home.” “I will grandpa, I promise.”
They came back from the doctor's appointment which seemed to have been years later with a disappointed look on their face. My grandpa comes over to me while my mom tells my grandma something. I see her whole expression change. That was the day I realized the man I love would never be fully healthy again.
The day my grandparents left for Mexico was the saddest day of my life. I’m finally glad school is over and I’m able to go to Mexico for the whole summer. I was tired of not seeing my grandparents. I wanted to get to Mexico as soon as possible! As I board the plane, I start to visualize what they look like. Not seeing them for a year has been rough.
As I arrive to my grandparents’ house I hear a distinct humming. I locate the sound to go find my grandpa. I find him sitting on this bed, trying to gather all his energy to stand up. I stare at him from the door, noticing how his eyes had sunken into his face. His radiant smile was now a weak grin. Where had the man I loved disappeared to? I go over to his bed to help him up and realize he is no longer the strong man who took care of me. He was now a weak child who needed of my care. That summer I spent most days at my grandparents’ house. I would care for him just as he did to me so many years back. I would sing him songs we would always sing. My grandma said she saw how happy my grandpa was next to me. I adored the man and would do anything to keep him happy.
Summer came to an end and I didn’t want to go back home. I begged my parents to let me stay with my grandparents.
“I can just do the eighth grade here! They wouldn’t miss me at school!” My parents just laughed and made me go pack. I cried that day. I was afraid of never seeing my grandpa ever again.
My mom was talking on the phone with my aunts. “Sulma says he’s been getting weaker and weaker. We should send money to our parents to afford the new medication.” She paused. She looked over at me then said into the phone, “I’ll talk to you guys later. Leslie just came into the kitchen.” I come up to her and I didn’t even have to say a word before she started to speak.
“Your grandpa is refusing to take his old medication. The doctor put him on a new medication and it’s really expensive. Don’t worry. He will be fine.”
I believed her. I mean, aren’t doctors supposed to help people live longer? And my grandpa was a strong guy! He was invincible. Little did I know that wasn’t the case.
It’s the first days of October. The weather is getting colder and people are preparing for Halloween. My parents had company over and like always I was on my phone. I got a call from my aunt asking to speak to my mom. “Pasame a tu mama. I need to talk to her.” I give my mom the phone and within a couple of minutes I see her turn to my dad and tell him something. I see her frantically call my aunts and uncle to tell them the news. I saw them start packing while our guest sat there trying to find a way to ease my confusion. My dad’s cousin finally came up to me and told me I would be staying at her house for the weekend. I asked her why. “Your grandpa has been taken to the hospital in Zacatecas. Your aunt says he’s very ill.” At that instant I realized that my worst fear had become true. I was going to lose the man I loved.
I begged my parents to take me, but they just wouldn’t budge. “There’s no room for you in the car. We’re leaving right now. We’re just waiting for your uncle Angel to give us the go to go pick him up.” I hated how they didn’t take me.
Monday finally came. I went to school. I was sad because my parents had been in Mexico for a day now and they hadn’t updated me. I was staying at a close friend’s house since we both went to the same school. “Hey Ashley! Let me use your laptop to see what’s new on twitter.” She handed me the laptop and I signed in. Immediately I see a tweet my cousin posted. It was a picture of him and my grandpa when he was a toddler. As I read the caption, “RIP to the greatest man in my life. I will miss you,” I went into shock. I quickly messaged my cousin.
“Why that post? I thought he was doing better?”
“No. I’m sorry Leslie. He passed away this morning.”
As soon as I read that, my expression changed. Ashley came over to me and tried to comfort me. I cried like a baby in her arms. Her mom heard me crying and asked what was wrong. I told her and started bawling in tears again.
My mom came back home two days after the funeral. When I saw her I immediately went up to her and started crying in her arms. She cried too. “He’s finally better now. He can now take care of you wherever you are.” When she said that I realized something. I was going to carry my grandpa and our memories around with me all the time now. I didn’t completely lose him; he was just a world away from me.