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The Worst Moment of My Life

By , Johns Creek, GA

Grief and anger are two of the most horrible emotions.This was the most heartbreaking moment of my life but it helped me learn more about myself. My story can help you know that I is okay to grief and that it will get better. Going through grief about losing someone can help you learn how strong you actually are.

My grandfather was a famous musician named Ralph MacDonald. He was a singer-songwriter and producer who travelled all across the world. He was a two time Grammy Winner for his song Just the Two of Us and his album Saturday Night Fever. Even though he had a wonderful life there is a big problem that he had. For as long as I can remember he used to smoke cigarettes. At some point the cigarettes had caused him to be diagnosed with lung cancer. My family also has a long history of cancer so that was a concern in itself. He had gone through many ups and downs battling this disease but in the end on December 18, 2011 he passed away at his home in Connecticut.  I as at home laying in my bed and I woke up for some reason. I tried to fall back asleep but for some reason I couldn’t. It was like I knew that someone was not right because I got a random sinking feeling in my stomach. Once I was able to identify what that feeling was I heard some sniffling sounds coming from my parent’s room. I knew exactly why they were crying because we had just come from visiting him earlier that day and he was not doing well at all. He was not moving and he had no interest in eating or drinking so we knew that his end was near. I just didn’t think it would happen so soon. I did not want to tell myself that he was actually gone because I loved him so much. That moment really made me realize that nothing is permanent and that you can lose your loved ones at any moment.

If you Googled him you could see that my grandfather was tall and had a moustache when he was younger. His hands always looked swollen and I think that was because he was playing the drums all of the time. He used to wear tropical shirts all of the time and actually gave three of them to me before he passed. If you have ever seen me before I occasionally wear a black shirt with little people climbing trees on it. That was one of the three shirts he gave me before he passed. He would always give me anything I wanted whether it was money, my saxophone or my Xbox .In all of the pictures of him you could see that he looked like he enjoyed himself the most when he was on stage. Every day I woke up the outside just looked depressing and gloomy. Even if it was sunny outside I could always find a way to make it seem grey. I don’t know how but wherever I went it just smelled like tears even if no one was crying. There was a constant ringing in my ears for about a week and I would catch myself zoning out all the time when I went back to school. Everything I ate tasted different and the only way I can explain it is by saying it tasted like the color grey. My apartment that I was living in felt very still as if nothing was functioning the way it should have. My mother was really going through a tough time because that was her father. I still did not completely allow myself to come to terms with the fact that he was actually gone. The way everything felt, looked and tasted grey and bland made me realize how big of an effect a person can have in your life. The fact that there was a constant heavy feeling in my chest showed how losing a person can cause you to feel like you are falling apart. When I was around the age of three or four there would always be a funny smell on my grandfather when I would hug him. As a child I just thought that he had some funny laundry detergent. Then one day I saw him take a things that looked like a stick and light in on fire that I realize that that was where the smell was coming from.I would constantly smell that on him and I grew to really hate cigarettes. The fact that I could always smell that on him meant that he was always smoking them.

My grandfather was bedridden for a long time at his house and he would not move, talk or eat. He ended up having a stroke which only added his body failing. The room was a pastel green color and on the walls there were all of the awards he had won at some point. When you would walk into the house you could notice how the whole place was falling apart. The room where my grandfather was smelled exactly like a hospital room which only added to the gloomy feeling. My grandfather just lay there all day with his mouth open and honestly he looked dead already. After my denial about his death I felt like it was my fault. I felt this way because when I was a child I had a habit of sucking my thumb kind of like a baby with its pacifier. Every time we were at his home in Connecticut my mom would say to him, “When are you going to stop smoking?” He would then look down at little six year old me and say “I will quit smoking when you quit sucking your thumb.” Me being six years old and not really understanding anything I just laughed. But looking back on it now I still wonder if he would have stopped if I did.

For a good three or four months I silently blamed myself for his death. I did not want to bring him up to my mom because then she would be in a bad. And you know how as a kid you thought that everything was your fault so I did not want to make her feel worse.  I zoned out in school and was just going through my day not really paying attention. I felt a wide variety of emotions but the biggest ones I felt were grief and anger. I was grieving over the fact that he was gone and how I could have prevented his death if I gave up my habit of sucking my thumb.

For a long time  I used to think about if he would have stopped if I did but then I came to a realization with myself. If he really wanted to quit smoking he would have done it on his own and not have asked six year old child to give up their habit along with him. Adults have to make their own decisions for the good of themselves and their loved ones however when you have a bad habit it is hard to think that way. I feel changed because I now realize that I am a lot stronger when it comes to dealing with the death of a loved one. Grieving helped me realize that you cannot let losing someone stop you from functioning. You have to keep on going with your life now that it will get better.






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