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The Sprouting Flower that never Bloomed
It was a normal school day. I was a normal 3rd grader in a classroom trying to endure the grueling lecture of a third grade science teacher. As the lecture regarding the water cycle carried on, I possessed the inner excitement that all third graders had due to a simple, but seemingly sacred event. Eventually, as the lecture came to a close, the ring of the bell sharply penetrated across the room. It was time for recess. All of the students who previously appeared to have the enthusiasm completely derived from them suddenly popped out of their seats and ran to the door at an exuberant rate that lead to an inevitable congestion in the narrow hallway. Of course, I was among them. When I heard the bell, I swiftly elevated myself from my seat and ran towards the door as my excitement progressively built up from the lowness of its previous state within the classroom. As I dashed across the hallway to the third grades own “gate to freedom”, a teacher caught up to me and lead me back into the classroom.
As I walked beside the teacher, I wondered about the reason for the immediate extraction from my fellow peers. At first, I pondered on the thought that I could be in trouble for some thoughtless endeavor that I could have carried out within the classroom. Then, as we reached the door, the teacher informed me of the news that was the creator of the suspense that was built up in the hallway. My teacher informed me that based on immediate request from my mom, that I was to go home early and that she was already at the school to pick me up. As I heard this news, I was ecstatic. As with most elementary school students, I was ambitious towards leaving school early for any reason. With abundant joy, I ran to the car and jumped in the front seat, directly adjacent to my mom.
As I entered the car, I witnessed a troubling sight that provoked instant fear. I saw my mother, she looked like she was in a state of panic, as if the trauma inflicted upon her was significantly severe. Her eyes were red and a peculiar amount of sweat drops were dripping from her head. Finally, my mother stuttered and told me that my seven month old cousin was in the hospital with a collapsed lung and that she was on life support in the trauma center. As that news was bestowed upon me, the emotional aspect of the algorithm within my brain seemed to immediately shut down. I felt as if I was numb. The confusion of the astounding nature of the event left me more puzzled than worried at the moment. Both my mother and I fell into the duration of silence that lasted the entire drive to the hospital.
After what seemed like an eternity, my mother and I made our way to the hospital and we swiftly tried to find the room that held my baby cousin. As we progressed through the multitude of wings and wards of the hospital, we entered the room that served as a knowledge base that would satisfy the dire questions that were held by my mother and me.
Immediately, when my mother and I entered the room, a negative energy instantly penetrated through us. Every individual within the small hospital room appeared to have a dark shadow bestowed upon them that no amount of sunlight could add lightness to. Finally, we were officially given the news that we almost instantly assumed as we entered the room. My cousin had died approximately two minutes before my mother and I entered the room. We were too late.
Progressively, my personal numbness turned into a horrid state of utter depression that provoked a twisted darkness within my thoughts and overall perception of life. As soon as the nurse delivered the bleak news, questions became answers, confusion became knowledge, and all aspects of hope that were held between us were instantly lacerated, disintegrated, and transformed into the bitter sense of degrading loss that became a well-known friend to each and everyone of us.
After hearing the devastating news, the entire family fell into a state of instant grief that was bestowed upon every individual. I saw my mom and uncle cry for the first time. I even saw my grandma cry for the first time, and she has been through a lot. My grandma has seen her own uncle killed in front of her during the Holocaust and has been surrounding by bitter suffering and people dying and getting shot through her entire childhood. This death was different, though. Hannah was just a baby. She didn’t even have a chance to experience life. She didn’t have a chance to communicate and grow to love those who were closest to her. She died before she could learn to walk and learn to talk. I haven’t even ever seen the small child smile before she perished. This child didn’t even have one chance to accomplish something. She departed, without an opportunity to leave her mark.
A few days later, the funeral for my cousin was scheduled to occur. As we entered the funeral home, the energy that was held in the hospital room gradually revisited us, and this time, at a much slower, but significantly deeper rate. As I saw my cousin’s corpse in the casket, I observed her, and, suddenly, a streaming multitude of thoughts flowed into my head. I thought about what this young baby could have grown up as. How this baby could have progressed from a little girl to a young lady with her own ambitions, goals, and maybe even a family of her own. She could of led an excellent life with an abundant amount of friends and a loving family who would nurture her and then let her spread her wings as she progressed and became capable of exploring the world on her own. Now, this vision of the future was just something that could have happened. It was now just a heavily fantasized scenario that was now impossible. Thoughts of this future were now added factors that provoked an even stronger sadness than what was bestowed upon my family and me previously. Our family was in a time of depression that seemingly had no bounds.
After the funeral, my mom and I went home and during the car ride, my mom reassured me that she was fine. Unfortunately, I could see though her like a thin sheet of paper. I knew that her pathetic attempt to pretend that everything was ok was a phony charade to try to make me feel secure. Her attempt and her many others that she carried out in the future inevitably failed. I was no longer a little kid who could be instantly enlightened by a cheap toy. I was well aware of the harsh reality that was distributed throughout my family. I could sense and I became part of the mental anguish within my family.
As days went by, I returned to school, but I returned in a state of sorrow that every single student in my class could notice. In school, I stopped talking to other students, I stopped doing homework and studying for tests, and, in a broad sense, I stopped caring. Eventually, my teacher kept me in for recess and decided to have a talk with me. I told her about the previous family crisis that I had to face and how I truly felt about it. I expressed my feelings of abundant loss that led to the depression that was bestowed upon me. I also expressed my anger that was not only pointed at the event at hand, but my anger towards how my mother communicated to me during this experience. For most of the experience, my mother didn’t talk to me about Hannah’s death, but instead, tried to cover it up by trying to crack fake smiles. My mom was afraid to share her emotions and feared that if she did, that my mental age wouldn’t allow me to completely interpret them in a way that wouldn’t overwhelm me. It also bothered me how we haven’t visited my aunt and uncle ever since the funeral. As I told my teacher this, she agreed that if my family wanted to recover from the loss more effectively, we had to be there for each other and be completely honest with each other, despite our differences in age and experiences. Despite the multitude of differences between individuals, a common solitude can be reached with the power of communication and honesty.
When I went home that day, I decided to tell my mom how I felt. As soon as I said this, she started to cry. Finally, she admitted that she was trying to cover up her own sadness with hope that by doing so would help with my emotions. Inevitably, her fake smiles allowed for the exact opposite to occur. During my cousin’s death, I felt isolated, alone, as if I was facing this whole ordeal by myself. I was confused, for I was only eight. I felt that it was extremely strange that I was crying and my mother wasn’t crying with me. It turns out that despite how I previously felt, my family was right there, trying to bleed out the misery with me, both at individual levels and at the shared level. It actually turned out that my uncle was so destroyed by his daughter’s death, that he quit work and he refused to leave his house. My mom attempted to make me feel that my uncle was fine, hoping that I would heal faster from the traumatizing experience. Also, my mom shared with me how she felt a sense of failure when we were too late to see my baby cousin in her last minutes of life. As my mother enlightened me, I became more confident since I told my mom how I truly felt and since I learned how my aunt and uncle and my other relatives truly felt.
Eventually, two years after my cousin’s death, my uncle had a new job and my aunt was pregnant with my new baby cousin. According to my family, the news about the new baby was an official end to our journey. It was a new beginning. As our family recovered, the dark cloud of depression faded and eventually completely diminished and vanished from our lives. We were allowed to continue and life seemed to progress again. We kept memories of Hannah in our hearts. She was no longer thought of as the representation of something that could have been. She was now thought of as a life worth celebrating because every life is precious,no matter how long or short.