An Unforgettable Day This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

An Unforgettable Day (Final Draft)

“I am sorry for your loss”, a phrase no one wants to hear. I heard that sentence more times than I heard hello that week. My dad sat there with a bewildered look on his face as we all gathered to face the truth. It was the day that I found out my Grandpa took his life.

I walked into my parent’s room as my mother placed her hand on my dad’s shoulder while he sat on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. I glanced at my mom with a puzzled look on my face and slowly began to approach them. My mom reached out for my little hand as I latched onto her. My mom and I sat in silence accompanied by the sound of my dad’s muffled sobs for what seemed like an eternity. I did not know how to respond to my dad acting like this. In my entire nine years of being alive I had never seen him completely lose it and become this emotional. It was like watching your hero breakdown right in front of your eyes. I realized then that even dads sometimes fall apart and it was something I had never witnessed before. Suddenly my dad’s tear-stained face looked towards my mom and suggested that we assemble our family downstairs in the living room. My mom shot me a look that I knew only meant one thing: she needed my help. I retreated from her side to gather my older brother and sister and tell them something was going on that mom and dad wanted to talk to us about.

After a minute or two of searching, I found my brother and sister running across the open backyard dodging the newly blooming crape myrtles. I ran up to them only to have them run away from me thinking I wanted to be a part of the game. Once I finally got them to stop and listen I explained what was going on they quickly followed me to the living room where my parents were already waiting for us. I will never forget the look of heartbreak my dad had across on his face when we walked in. He told us “three on a couch” which is something he would say when there was something serious he needed to discuss with us. As we sat down my mom took her place next to my dad’s side for support. He began to speak and told us that we were going to be taking a trip to Illinois in the next few days. I did not understand why he was so upset if we were going to see Grandma and Grandpa. Then he told us that this was not going to be a pleasant visit. I looked over at my older brother at that moment and it was like a light bulb went off in his head. Tears began pouring out of his eyes as he waited for the news he feared to be confirmed. My sister looked at me with the same look of confusion that had been stamped across my face all day. As we sat there my dad struggled to tell us the news. Eventually he built up enough strength to tell us my Grandpa had committed suicide and was no longer with us here on Earth. My siblings and I immediately looked to my mom for some kind of words of explanation. I didn’t fully understand what suicide meant being as young and sheltered as I was. I thought it might be some kind of disease or illness but then my dad went on to explain that Grandpa was on medication for his liver that had a side effect of depression. If the patient was feeling depressed they were advised to tell their doctor about it, but Grandpa was a tough guy. He thought he could handle whatever the world threw his way, and most of the time could handle his difficulties on his own. Unfortunately this was something he could not handle all by himself. I looked up and saw the rims of my dad’s eyes filling with tears as he signaled for a family hug. In that moment our family was united more than I had ever felt before. We stood there comforting each other through the shock of the news we just heard. It is moments like these that we are truly comforted through the hard times. Not by the things we say, but more by the way we deal with the situations thrown at us.

After our family hug all I could think about was that I was never going to get to see Grandpa smile or hear him laugh his signature laugh again. It was a hard concept for me to wrap my head around. Grandpa was such a lovable person. He lived to provide for his family, and he did whatever he could to make us happy. He constantly joked around and acted silly when us grandchildren were present. I didn’t know how to feel or what to say knowing he was gone forever.

Although this heartbreaking situation happened, my dad wanted to make sure we remembered the good times with Grandpa. We began to tell our favorite memories with Grandpa, but being as young as I was I didn’t have very many memories to share. My brother told us about the time Grandpa taught him how to play pool in the basement of their house. My sister told of the time Grandpa took us all to the community pool in their neighborhood for a day of fun in the sun. Their stories made me realize that although I didn’t have many memories, I would cherish the ones that I did have. I thought about the time when Grandpa woke up all of the grandkids for a trip to McDonald’s when I was six. It was one of my favorite places so I was thrilled. We all piled into his truck and took off for our breakfast destination. When we arrived our mouths were already watering from the smell of freshly scrambled eggs and greasy hash browns filling the air. We walked in, ordered, and ran for the playground. After playing for a few moments I looked down at Grandpa through the smudged plastic windows of the play pin. He was just sitting there as we all were off having a good time. I decided to sacrifice some playground time to go talk with him. When I walked up to him I he had a puzzled look on his face. I told him that I was tired of playing and wanted to sit with him for a while. His face lit up and he reached out for me as I climbed onto his enormous lap. We sat and talked for a short time and then went to get our order. Looking back I am glad that I got this experience with Grandpa because I was robbed of so many other future memories by the choice he made to end his life.

After sharing our memories with each other my mom and dad hectically began making travel arrangements as well as calling family members. Our family spent more time together that day than we had in a long time. My siblings and I traveled up the dark stairway towards my parent’s room to see if there was anything that we could do to help but paused as the muffled sobs of my dad echoed throughout the hallway. We decided unanimously that there was nothing that three young children could do to make this any better, so we went off to our rooms to pack for the long week of heartache and pain we had ahead of us.





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