The fallowing piece is an essay I wrote in creative writing.
It was the first time I had written on the subject. It was my sadist piece but my class said it was the best thing I wrote all year. It even made the teacher cry. (the students always called her heartless and mean and never showed emotion!)
Just past nightfall, the upstairs phone rang. My mother caring on a jovial conversation with my father in the next room slowly walked to answer it. My sister and I were in the living room watching TV and eating dinner. As always, when we did not know who called would watch and listen to the conversation, waiting for them tell us who it was. A frightened look overcame my mother so my sister and I got up to stand next to her. We would ask her what was wrong but she would just signal us to be quiet so she could hear the other person. Her breathing rapidly amplified, her face turned red as her lips began to quiver and speaking was near impossible. She robustly tried to hold back her emotions, yet she could not. As soon as she hung up the phone, she instantly fell to pieces. In so much despair and grief, she nearly dropped to her knees like a child first learning to walk. Now her face was ghost white. Tiny tears dropped rapidly down her face like a waterfall. My mother gave us hugs, just trying to cradle us like newborns. She tried to hold back the tears so she could tell us what was going on.
My uncle BJ always calls the upstairs line when he panics. That was on of those times. He had called to be the barer of ghastly news; he was the messenger of death. We were all soon informed of my grandfatherís worldly release. The impact of the news ran us all over like a bus. We dropped like flies one by one as the news of the epidemic spread. So overpowered by emotion we could not tell up from down.
My mother and sister tried to be bold and strong and I never saw my fatherís reaction. I on the other hand bawled and wailed like an animal ensnared in a bear trap. I was so grief stricken I did not know where to turn. I would fall on the floor kicking and screaming like a spoiled rotten child having a temper tantrum, rolling like pigs in a mud hole. Eventually I rose, weak and weary. Hunched over, I walked in a circle like a little puppy chasing its tail. I was a volcano, erupting and spewing every emotion possible. I would stop for a few seconds and start right back up.
Soon I found the stairs and with barely any strength left in me, I crawled up the stairs and into my room. I then climbed into bed and tried to suffocate myself by wrapping my self in my sheets. I tried to fade away and hide from everyone else. I just wanted to be alone even though I was rickety like a cold, wet, abandoned child that was scared and lost. My mother came up and brought me back down stairs. Like an old person, she had to hold me so I could walk.
She said I could not be alone at such a time. We all had to stick together, downstairs. She was afraid by the way, I broke down that I would mentally shatter. She was frightened that I would fall into a pit of despair and never come out. She was just terrified that I would become a vegetable. The idea of me becoming physiologically unhinged was my motherís worst nightmare.
The shock was so grate that if I had gone to sleep I probably would have not woken up. For my wound, there was no Band-Aid that could bind, nor was there an ointment that could heel. I was ready to leave my family and join him. My grief was stronger than my will.
My father immediately made travel plans for the next day. We could have left that night but we were in no shape and becoming organized was defiantly out of the question.
My grandfather had a wake before the actual burial. When we got there every one seemed to have it together, somewhat. As everyone walked around socializing one of my older cousins broke down. No one ever saw him cry, ever, before that day. One of my other cousins, Jonathan, asked where grandfather was and my uncle and grandmother looked at each and then looked at the open casket. They began to cry when he said that. He walked over to the coffin and peered in. He just watched him and then he looked around. He spotted our grandmother and our uncle, then this indescribable look took- over his face. I knew then that he understood.
My Father felt out of place, and I was a faucet that leaked occasionally. I was struggling to keep it together. My grief triggered an asthma attack and an anxiety attack. Then when my father left to drive around, I went with him so I could be away from it all, just for a little while.
Then at the burial, the little kids played in the plush, green, grass and newly bloomed summer flowers. They picked flowers and then were picked up so they could lay them upon the coffin. My oldest cousin cried through the whole ceremony. I had my arm around him and his was around me, even though he had not seen me for about six years. At the end of the ceremony, there was a solute, three shots fired by young soldiers, which were aligned perfectly in a row like toys. Then one of them handed a flag to my grandmother, folded eloquently and in perfect formation.
Anytime my grandfather was brought up, a hush would fall over the house. Everyone would take a deep breath that followed a solemn sigh. They were brief and uncomfortable situations. Andy and I always left they room when the occurred because we did not want any one to see our pain. By the benevolent looks, Andy and I got you got the felling that of all my grandfathersí grandchildren Andy and I took it the worst. We were chain smokers, any time one of us cried another would start until we were all smoking. Many, like me, could not bare the reality of his passing. Ever since his death, I would brake down in the mention of him in a conversation. Even to this very day if he is brought up, I will stand in complete aw. My family takes a moment of silence to remember him.
I would begin to sob for what had appeared to be no reason, but actually, something or someone that reminded me of him triggers it. For example, one time while eating dinner in a restaurant I saw a group of people walk in. The large group reminded me of my family and I began to shed tears. People just looked at me as if I were mentally deranged.
The thing that hurts the most is regret. I shied away the month before he died. It was such a vital time that I wasted. I wish I had not thrown away the opportunity to get closer to him. I knew he was dieing and that I should have spent time with him. I was just so scared of getting close to him. I did not know what to say or what to do around him. I was apprehensive that if I was emotionally involved that it would hurt more in the end. I cannot fool myself any more; I already was close to him. The oversight haunts me constantly like a stranded and lost soul. The feeling is overwhelming and it chokes my thoughts. It sits exceedingly heavy upon my heart. I suffer so much guilt and so much anguish. I do not know which one hurts the most.
The little ones were the smartest ones at the time because they played with him so carefree and clueless. They were so jovial as if he would always be there forever. I wish I had been that blind. I was a fool and in one aspect: naive. Unfortunately, it was in the wrong way.
The guilt is harsh so I make up many asinine excuses and millions of hypothetical situations. Then I play the situations repeatedly in my head. Some times, I think, if only I had a childís naive, innocents then maybe it would be different. I think sometimes, what if I was a child and he died. Would I have acted the same? Probably not, I say this after observing my little cousinsí reactions and actions, never a whimper or tear from them. Then I think maybe I would have. Perhaps they were not developed enough, with the exception of Jonathan.
The only thing I want to do now is go back in time. To once again be a sweet, innocent, loving, foolish, naive child. I always had something to say and I always wanted to play and sit in his lap. I was unbelievably attached. I never wanted to be separated.
It is still hard for me to grasp the concept of losing the only grandfather I ever knew. My mother always told me he lived a good, fulfilled life. I knew that and I still do. Even the good recollections make me weep. The thought of his absence makes my eyes tear up and my chest feel tight, my chin tremor and my stomach ach as if I had never eaten before.
My little cousins were not aware of what had happened or how things were going to be different. I on the other hand, knew everything was going to change. I knew that my grandfather would not have another February trip to Galveston. He would also not be sleeping in the car while the girls went shopping. He would not be there to watch cartoons with me in the morning either. Nor would he have arrived at my house and been there by the time I got home from school. In addition, I would never hear him bitch about my dog Maggie being the only dog that hates him. Now every time I see my grandmother I cry, for two reasons one because I am happy to see her and two because I miss him.
Three grandchildren; never showed an emotion other than playfulness were swept off there feet. I was one of them. When my great aunt died, I just shrugged my shoulders and never thought of it again. My cousin did not even cry when his great grandmother died. No emotion was shown then, yet when our grandfather died we were helpless.