January 23, 2009. I opened the door, not knowing that I was about to receive two pieces of life changing news. That day, I got my high school acceptance letters and I also received news of my grandfather’s death. One came from my mailbox and one came from my mother’s mouth. I remember that the whole day her mouth was in a permanent frown. She told me something bad has happened. Somehow, I knew something happened to grandpa. I asked what happened to him, how sick he was, and when I could see him. My mom said grandpa died. I remember how everything seemed to stop. My jaw locked. My heart stopped. Then, I shrieked, the loudest scream I ever screamed. I threw down my acceptance letters and refused to open them. I ran upstairs and looked out the window. How could everything still look the same? He was gone, but the world hadn’t stopped. It continued on as if nothing had happened. The worst part was that I couldn’t remember my last words to him. I pushed my brain to its outmost limits, but I just couldn’t remember. The wake and funeral were a teary blur. It hurt to see him that way. Was that even my grandfather in that casket? I feel like a part of me was buried with him that chilly day. I still cry when I hear the songs they played at his funeral. I still hear his voice everywhere I go. That week, we cleaned out his apartment. It pained me to go inside, but I did. I needed one final glance at the favorite place of my childhood. However, it wouldn’t have been my favorite place if it weren’t for my grandpa. I heard his laughter echoing the rooms. I sprinted to the bedroom, actually expecting him to be lying there laughing at me for believing he was dead. He wasn’t in the bedroom. He wasn’t in the kitchen, the bathroom, or anywhere. I found his hat. I still have it and it smells just like him. It was exactly where he must have left it before he went to sleep and never woke up. I wonder what it felt like to die alone. Mom and Dad were too late. I feel horrible and sad even now. I never got over you dying. Grandpa, do you know I still see you in my dreams? When I’m out in a cross country race, I see you right next to me. I see you telling me to do what is right. You are the voice inside my head. I talk to you all the time and kiss your picture good night before I go to sleep. I envision you as my guardian angel. I completely understand how sad Tim was at Linda’s death. Death is scary and incomprehensible. I just can’t wrap my mind about it. Grandpa still appears to me just like Linda does to Tim. We both never got over the deaths and we still love our deceased love ones. Tim’s writings helped me and related to all my experience with death. It gave me a chance to reflect on feelings that I often block.
October 28, 2010