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Carry On

My grandfather, Rick, is like no other. He has the kindest words, smartest brain, incredibly loving heart, hardworking hands, and is the strongest man I know. At first glance you see an older gentlemen with an aged face with wrinkles that have been there for a long time. However, after knowing him, you find the reason for all these wrinkles. They show strength through every battle he has survived, all the great memories he had while laughing his hardest. Each moment helped slowly gain each, proudly, earned crease and fold on his, once young face. Once learning about his past life, you'll start finding his wrinkles slowly getting up and walking away. Every morning he is up and ready; shaved, showered, haired combed, smelling good, and out the door before my alarm wakes me at six. Most days, he works from sunrise to sunset, still managing to pick me up from after every softball practice, bringing me to school every morning, or even bringing me to and from a friends houses. My family and I barely get to see him. Once he comes home, he's so exhausted from his long day of work he heads to bed. Most days, we don’t even have time to say goodnight, or even a quick, “I love you,” before resting our eyes until the next morning. However, nothing is perfect. This spontaneous man, has secrets. Secrets no one would guess, secrets he refuses to share and show weakness against. Never let his beautiful smile and bright, icy blue eyes deceive you, under his act of joy and youthfulness are the hidden pain and scars of every lost battle.
After multiple heart surgeries and trips to the ER because of falling off a ladder, he stays strong, and continues on with his occupied life. Looking into his eyes becomes harder and harder, knowing he is not always the one looking back at you. Somedays all you see is the agonizing pain, and with a deeper concentration you can hear the silent scream for help. Seeing his willpower everyday has changed me into realizing not everything goes the way we want, but we have to keep pushing through until the end. He is the reason I wake up every morning stronger than I was yesterday, fighting for what I need, standing up for those who can’t. He is my motivation, my inspiration, my hero.  This moment and on I have earned more respect towards others who continuously fall, but continue standing up, instead of giving up.           

“Penalty in the box!” announced the ref. The ball was placed on the penalty line. The opposing player draws back their leg, releasing a speedy bullet straight toward the cross bar. The crowd, with great excitement, roars. Not knowing the exact time, we estimate around two minutes left of the last half. We place the ball in the center of the field and start the play, sprinting toward the goal we mislead them with an unmistakable move, however the other defender is ahead of us and snatches the ball from our feet. With only a few seconds left on the clock, another beautiful goal is scored from outside the 18. The timer shouts. We walked off the field with the look of defeat on our face, and with the crowds ever growing cries, we line up, high five the other team repeating “good game” over and over. The team and I walked to the bus, and with a growing hunger arising inside me, I must wait to eat.

On the bus ride home, my mom sent me a message, “Can you get a ride home from a friend? Mark and I are running errands.”

“Yeah I guess I can.”
Without a worry in my mind, I call my friend Luc.
“Is it possible for me to come over until my mom is able to pick me up later?” with a slight moment of silence he responds,
“Yes, let me ask my mom”

I quickly run over to Emelia, a very friendly, outgoing person, to whom I am grateful to call one of my very good friends, to ask for a ride. Because it was on their way home, her mom agreed to give me a ride. That night we took the interstate. Coming from MVU it was the quickest way.

“Take a left.”
“No right!”
“Now left”
“Around the corner!”

We had gone a different way then I am used to, so we got lost, but eventually found our way.

It was close to sundown when  I arrived. I knew the moment I pulled in they were outback. I could hear the discrete creaking of the springs, and the laughter of children. His little brother and sisters were jumping on the trampoline.  Luc and I ran in the field next to his house. Soaring through the grass like an airplane, he pulls a flower out of the patch of grass. Admiring the bright yellow coloring, I say “Thank you” and smile. I look up and see the sky looking down on me, like a glowing flame of fire. Over the mountains I could see the small crescent moon. With the right angle I had the perfect shot. The photo had caught every color, and aspect in the sky. I rush his little sister, Isabelle, over. It was the perfect opportunity to take a picture. Luc held the flower, replaying how he originally handed it to me. She captured a perfect moment, and a night I won’t forget. As the sky got darker, the stars and moon became our only light source. We layed down on his back porch swing, and looked for different constellations.

“I found the big dipper!” I screeched sitting up and pointing with excitement 
“Uh, where?” he said with disappointment
“You can’t see it? It’s right there!”
Rolling my eyes, I looked at him. He was not even looking in the right direction. It was silent for a few moments. My cell phone starts singing to me. it was my mom.
“Hello?” I answered with a sound of doubt in my voice
“Your grandfather is in the hospital” 
With a pause, I respond “Why…?”
“He has been in an accident”
“What do you mean?” I said pushing Luc away from me, with tears rolling out of my eyes.
“He has bleeding on his brain, and is in a medically induced coma.”

As she was explaining to me the severity of the accident I could hear her voice trembling, I could tell she was disturbed. Every word she spoke her words would pause. At that moment my whole world came crashing down, my heart felt like it had been squeezed so hard, every ounce of blood, air, and life had been sucked out, leaving it looking like a deflated balloon, and my mind was blank as a sheet of paper. As i fought back tears, i hung up the phone. I didn’t want to believe what my mom had just told me.  It all happened so quick. All that was running through my mind was that it might be today that I must sit by my grand father’s side, begging him not to go when he is slowly slipping away. Without the soothing words, and bear hug from Luc, I would have gone crazy. My mind was coming to, and my step-father Mark had come to pick me up. On the car ride home he went into deeper description about what was happening to my grand father. I couldn’t help but continue crying like a baby on the way home. All I wanted was my mom, and to be by my grand father’s side.

That night was horrific. I stayed awake for hours, just thinking what can happen from here on out. I kept contemplating whether or not I wanted to attend school the next day. When I came to the conclusion of going to school, I knew it would be tough. Multiple students bombarded me with the same two questions;
“Are you okay?”
“What’s wrong?”

My response would always be “I’m fine.” I texted my mom asking her to pick me up. I couldn't deal with the pain, or erase the tears any longer. In a matter of seconds she responded, and in the next few minutes I was in the car on my way to the hospital. As I walked into the hospital I took a quick whiff, there is something about the smell of a hospital that I love, I always have. I was there all night, not returning home until around 11 o’clock.

Everyday got tougher, and my grandfather was getting worse. With one of my best friends by my side, I survived my first day back at school. With no questions asked, I had pushed my grand father’s situation to the back of my mind. I had a pretty good day, until that night. After school Mark brought my siblings and I to the hospital once again to see my mom. When we arrived at the waiting room, I silenced the world around me with my earphones blasting.  A women came to talk to us about my grandfather, not realizing, I started to zone out. My mom was trying to get my attention. The nurse wanted to take both me and my mom to see my grandfather. I immediately said yes.  My mom showed me a picture of my grandfather, to show me what I would be seeing. He was located in the ICU, in a back room. Before I walked into the door I turned around. I couldn’t stand the sight, it was terrifying to see him laying on the bed covered in wires from head to toe. I left with regret, and a knowledge that wouldn’t let me turn around. In the waiting room, I sat down in a chair facing the wall, angry with myself I play heavy music, thinking to myself:

“Why didn't I turn back?”
“What if this was my last chance to see him, to say ‘I love you’?” 
“I should have stayed by his side.”

That evening was full of questions I couldn't answer myself. I went home to a restless night, worrying if he will make it through tomorrow when they perform their last idea of saving him,  pull and prey. They are taking out all his wires and tubes and prey he makes it. The last time they woke him up in the night he was doing better, it gave me hope that I would no longer need to stress about being a grand-daughter without my grandfather.
On Friday, September 25th a miracle happened. All our previous prayers had come true, God was truly with us ‘til the end. I saw him laying on the hospital bed, still with ivy’s in his arms, with a smile on his face, and the sound of laughter in his voice. My heart had finally become filled with love and life once again.

No matter how many arguments, rude comments, and unnecessary behaviour occurs within our family, we always stick together and stay together through the toughest times. After making this another rough adventure,  the only thing I need to think to myself is:

“He stayed strong, so can I.”

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