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Not the Death, But the Relationship
“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” This famous quote was said by Jack Lemmon. This quote rang with me when my great grandma passed away. My great grandma was a very affectionate, loving, and thoughtful person, even though she was not the closest relative to me. It seems to me that when people close to me pass away, I feel like they were a bigger part in my life than before. Do you ever feel that way?
Wind smoothly blowing. Birds chirping. Trees waving at me, as if saying “Hello”. And I was stuck inside, sorting out my laundry with my younger sister. What a pain. My mom was standing behind me, sorting out more laundry for me on the couch. Staring out the window, gazing at all of my neighbor friends playing outside, wanting to play with them so badly. I was talking with my mom, chatting with her about our day. Then, she said something that made the world seem to just stop.
“Great Grandma passed away last night. I got a text about it from Grandma.” The moment she said that, I was all of a sudden filled with sadness. I felt as if I never got to say goodbye to her.
“Really?” I said in a sad voice, tears almost trickling out of my eyes.
“Yeah.” My mom replied with a quiet voice. We didn’t really talk the rest of the time, but when I went to my room to put my laundry in my closet, I thought about it. I am actually really going to miss her, now that I think about it. Even though she wasn’t very close to me, I still really loved her. Even though she needed to go, I want her back. I know that she is in a better place now, but I still miss her.
A few days later, on a beautiful sunny morning, I hopped into the car with my family. We were all dressed up very nicely, with our best dresses and suits. We started driving, and no one had said a word yet. I just stared out the window, admiring all of the birds and trees greeting me as we went by. At least I wasn’t the only one who wanted to cry. Minutes later, we arrived at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes, the place where we
would say goodbye one last time to my great grandma before she would be buried. I stepped out of the car, and slowly walked through the parking lot with my family, smelling all of the flowers, trees, and pollen gently flying through the air. We walked into the building, and at first, I thought we were walking into the White House to visit the president.
“Good Morning.” said the man holding the door for us at the main entrance. We greeted him back, and walked in, holding each other’s hands. We gazed at all of the beautiful artwork on the wall and the designs on the rugs, pointing out our favorites. We greeted another man, holding the door that would lead us to the room where my great grandma would be. The slow, sad music was playing in her room, and we could all hear it. We walked into the room and smelled the beautiful flowers on the tables. As I walked in, I squeezed my mom’s hand as tight as I could.
We slowly walked into the room, all feeling gloomy inside. Wreaths of beautiful flowers were hanging from the walls, and quiet, sad music was playing. I stared at the TV sitting on a wooden table, which was showing pictures of my great grandma from her childhood to her last years. I slowly walked over to my great grandma’s coffin with my mom and sister, hand and hand with each other. We looked down, and I saw that my grandma had a lot of makeup on and she looked a lot nicer. I was amazed at how nice they made her face and skin look. It looked like she was brand new again. “Wow. She looks a lot better than she used to.” I said to my mom. “Yeah. They can put on a lot of different types of makeup on her to make her look better.” My mom replied.
Tears were welling up in my eyes. I wanted her to still be with me. I could now feel the drops slowly dripping down my face. My great grandpa walked over and gently rested his hand on my shoulder. I looked up at him.
“It will be okay, Leah. You just need to know that she is in a better place now and that she is happier than she has ever been before.” he said. My mom looked down at me.
“Do you want to sit down with me?”
I nodded my head. We slowly walked over to the couches with beautiful patterns of flowers and leaves toward the front of the room, tears still dripping down my face. Along the way, my mom said “Hello” to some relatives along the way. I stood behind her for most of the time. She told most of them that we were going to sit down, talk for a little while and rest, and that we could talk a little later. We sat down on the couch, and I leaned on my mom’s shoulder. We talked and calmed down for a little while. Her voice and words made me feel a lot better about my great grandma’s passing. When we finished talking, we got up and grabbed some cookies and punch from the table near the entrance. We turned around and watched the TV again, gazing at the pictures, remembering our favorite memories of her. My mom also talked about some of the memories she had with her when she was a kid. That made me feel a little better. Some of my relatives came over to say “Hello” to us, but I didn’t know most of them. I had never really met any of my mom’s aunts and uncles, so I introduced myself to most of them that day. They were really kind and gentle, and they knew how I was feeling and what I was going through, because they were going through the same thing.
The day after the funeral, my mom had us stay home from school to have a family day. I played with my sister most of the day because all of my neighbor friends were at school. But I was still really sad and emotional that my great grandma had left us. We played together for most of the day, building new LEGO sets and watching TV together. It was getting later in the day, and we all have had a busy week, so my mom told us to go to bed. We got ready and hopped in our warm, cozy beds, but we were all still really sad about what had happened the past few days. My mom always talks to us about our day and prays with us before we go to sleep, but I was really emotional that night. I started crying, even though it was only my step great grandma that had passed away. I talked to my mom about my feelings, and she said some more stuff that really helped me get through this. In bed, when my mom left the room to go to sleep, I thought about how much I missed her, even though she wasn’t my closest relative. After a couple minutes , I finally wiped away my tears, took a deep breath, and went to sleep. I went back to school a few days later, and my friends were wondering what had happened to me. I told them the story, but I would always think of my great grandma and start to get sad whenever I told it. My friends were very helpful and told me some very meaningful things, and helped me get through this hard situation.
I learned to love and spend more time with my family and friends, because you never know when they will be gone. When my great grandma passed away, I felt that I didn’t spend enough time with her and like she was a bigger part in my life than before. Now that she is gone, I think about her a lot and spend more time with my family and friends. My family also passed on some of her traditions to help us remember her.