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Routinely pushing play on the answering machine, as I do every time I get home,
I was about to hear the words that would forever change my life. The sorrow and
agony in her voice gave away the horrifying news I had been regretfully waiting.
My heart sank as I sat and reflected on what had happened.
Since I was a little kid, my grandpa, Howard Scheuster, has always been a role
model in my life. He was an intelligent man, loyal Christian, prominent family
leader, and hard worker, thus I had many reasons for looking up to him my whole
My grandpa was a victim of the affects of Lymphoma cancer for thirteen
years. Ever since I remember knowing my grandpa, he has had cancer,
but I would have never known it. When looking back at my grandpa, I remember
an avid fisherman, fanatic cigar collector, Chicago White Sox follower, and jazz
lover; but possibly the aspect of him I remember most was his many simple, yet
captivating stories about his past. My favorite of these stories had to be the
descriptive flashbacks of how he had met my grandma and all the romantic,
exciting jazz clubs they had spent there weekend nights at.
During the last summer of my grandpa's life, I was fortunate enough to spend
more time with him than ever before. Unaware of what the future would bring, I
guess I just hoped and thought that my grandpa would be fine and healthy
forever. Unfortunately, my grandpa began to slip, and various treatments, such
as chemotherapy, tragically failed. My grandpa soon lost his appetite,
something I thought my grandpa would never lose, because he was such a food
lover. His body frame began to shrink, and his bones began to show. Although
in much pain and helplessly attached to his bed, my grandpa was always in good
spirits, and always had a joyful smile on his white, bearded face, which is one
thing I will never forget about his character.
Upon returning from Grand Junction, I proceeded to check the messages. Pushing
play, I heard my grandma's voice; the sorrow and agony in her voice gave away
the horrifying news I had been regretfully waiting. My heart sank as I sat and
reflected on what had happened. My grandpa had passed away, and it would not
sink in for many days just how much I would miss him and how much I loved him.
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I learned many valuable lessons through my grandpa, whether it was during my
childhood, during that last glorious summer, or during his last few days. I
learned not to be ashamed to tell a loved one what they mean to me. He showed
me how to always find a positive side to everything, even if it was a fatal
disease that I so much hated. Last, and above all, he taught me to take
advantage of the time I had with someone I cared so much for, and to treasure
every second of their presence.
"Pressure turns coal into diamonds."
- Western Proverb