Grandad's Mountain

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I was eight years old when Grandad passed away. I was old enough to register the news, but too young to know how to respond to it. In fact, I hardly even shed a tear. I was nonchalant, as if he had simply decided to take a long trip to the mountains. The mountains were his favorite place in the world. No matter what mountain he was at, he was happy and at peace. That’s where I had pictured Grandad the day Daddy told me he had died.

The next summer, my family and I took a road trip to Colorado to visit my cousins. My cousins lived in a big, beautiful home surrounded with pine trees, with a window the size of a moving truck presenting a picturesque view of distant mountains. With all the cousins together, we decided it would be appropriate to spread Grandad’s ashes on the top of a mountain.
As we began to hike up the dusty trail, I remembered the little things that made Grandad special: the way he talked, the way he smelled, the way he dressed, the way he loved to make people laugh, and of course, the way he smiled. And as I climbed that mountain I found an unknown sense rising up into my throat, giving me a burst of sudden energy. My eyes focused on the top of that mountain as I raced to satisfy my heart’s desire.

I felt as if my heart was being tugged by a fishing line; I was unstoppable. Adrenaline rushing through me, I felt I needed to be the first to meet Grandad at the top. I had no intention to compete, but felt the need to accomplish something huge. The closer I thought I got to the peak, the closer I felt to Grandad. I increased my pace, but grew impatient when what I thought was the top was really another curve in the path. Almost feeling as if the tugging was loosening on my heart, I was determined not to let the line go.
The path appeared to be getting rockier, and I knew it was a sign that I was finally reaching my destination. I sprinted the last leg of the trail, closing the distance between the peak and I quickly…until I finally reached it.
Panting, I gaze around me in silent awe. This was the first time I had looked at my surroundings, since I had my adrenaline rush. This is what was waiting for me on the top of the mountain. It was like standing inside an oil painting. All around me were mountains and valleys in shades of blue, green and purple. Random patches of golden wild flowers covered the ground. I couldn’t stop staring admiringly at the scenery, for I had never seen anything so beautiful.
I stepped up onto the edge of the mountain, looking down at the rest of my family, climbing the last leg of the trail. I cannot explain my gratitude, my sense of accomplishment and how I spiritually felt connected to this place. I could only simply say that I felt my heart had been reeled in from the water and I was able to breathe again. I closed my eyes, feeling Grandad right above me watching, and gave out a loud holler, unable to contain my happiness and pride. I smiled and raised my arms above my head.





At this point, I knew I was experiencing the same feelings Grandad had felt in his happy place in the mountains: happy and at peace.
I watched daddy spread Grandad’s ashes in the rocks then rushing to bury them so they wouldn’t blow away. My aunt called us over to show us a small, red rock she had come across that looked as if a white outline of an eagle had been painted right in the very center. We all looked at each other in astonishment.
We each said something on Grandad’s behalf and shared a long moment of silence to thank Grandad of the joy he had brought to the family. I recognized a couple of my relatives sniffling with tears running down their cheeks, and noticed my aunt clutching the small red rock. I couldn’t cry; I felt too happy. It almost felt wrong not to feel sad, but I was happy to be standing on top of this beautiful mountain, celebrating Grandad’s life and knowing that he was soaring somewhere above us, watching and smiling from ear to ear.





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