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A guilty feeling surged through me as I snuck out of church early, but I could not wait any longer to show my friend, Jonathan, my new Chevrolet Cavalier. As I raced out of the parking lot, I heard ambulance sirens in the distance, and I felt a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach as if butterflies were fluttering around trying to get out. I paid the feeling no mind as I merged onto the interstate at Gray and headed toward Johnson City. Little did I know those sirens would change my life forever.
I made it to Big Lots, where Jonathan works, and I forced him to come outside and look at my car. Then we sat and talked for a while and I bragged about how I was going to my grandma’s house to eat a good home-cooked meal, while he would be forced to eat fast food again. When I left Big Lots, I still had a little time before church let out, so I drove back to Gray to the Dollar Store for some supplies for a Spanish class project I was doing that week. Finally I pulled into my grandparents’ driveway, and I noticed the door was closed. I thought this was unusual because I knew my grandpa was home, but I had forgotten a school fundraiser form for my aunts to look at, so I turned around and drove back home to Jonesborough. While driving home my friend Rachel and her mother were behind me, they followed me all the way to my house. I thought it was some kind of joke, but when we pulled into my driveway, Rachel yelled, “Get in the car! They had to take your grandma to the hospital.”
That was one of the worst rides of my life. Rachel and her mother told me my grandma had passed out at church. Rachel had tried to run and catch me before I left, but it was too late, I was already gone. A million thoughts raced through my mind such as was she hurt or would she have to stay in the hospital a while, but death never crossed my mind.
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I replied, “All I know is she passed out at church.”
Then he showed me to the room where my family was. As I walked in the doorway, I saw the solemn faces of my three cousins, and my aunt was crying uncontrollably. When my aunt told me my grandma had passed away, time stood still. I ran through the doors and to the parking lot. I needed to be alone. The whole time I tried to make a deal with God. I promised to be a good person and to go to church every Sunday, if he would make this all a bad dream, but God does not make deals or give any explanation for his deeds.
After I regained my composure, I went back in. By then my whole family had arrived, we all went in to see her one last time. I wish I had never gone in there. The image of my grandma lying on the bed still haunts me to this day. I was still hoping this was all a dream. I hoped I would wake up and we would be sitting around laughing and talking but of course that was not the case.
My family and I made the long journey back to my grandparents’ house and tried to choke down the cold dinner. We all sat in the living room, and it was eerily quiet with only the tick of the clock interrupting the silence. From some where in the house I could hear my mother calling relatives and telling them the awful news and the funeral arrangements and I heard my cousins Tyler then eleven years old and Jenny then nine years old begging me to play a Scooby Doo board game. We must have played that game twenty times. Finally around eight p.m. we all decided to go home, my mom and Aunt Jane stayed with my grandpa. I went home with my cousin, Brittany, and I watch television till my eyes nearly popped out of my head because every time I tried to go to sleep, I would see my grandma’s face.
Monday was just as bad. I decided to stay out of school, so I had to sit at my grandparents’ house and talk to all the guests as they brought plate after plate of food. By that afternoon we had enough food to feed a small army. Finally I could not take it anymore, so my Aunt Tammy and I went shopping for a dress to wear to the funeral. I wandered from rack to rack, but my heart just was not in it.
It rained all day Tuesday and that night was the dreaded funeral. I wondered how I would ever make it through. When we arrived at the funeral home, I sat down and looked at all the flowers and I thought to myself, what does a dead person need with so many flowers. As people poured through the door, I nodded and said all the right things but my mind was a million miles away. My cousin, Brittany, could not take it and spent the entire night in the car. When my friend Jonathan arrived, I would not let go of him. I held onto him like a little child holds onto his mama on the first day of kindergarten. Throughout the service, I cursed God for putting my family through this. How could a loving, caring God do this to someone he supposedly loves? That night I once again could not sleep, so I lay on the couch and watched television all night.
The next morning was the day everyone dreaded but no one would talk about. It was the day we would be forced to say our final goodbye. AS the person I loved most in the world would become one with the dirt. That day was the longest of my life. The wind was biting cold as we stood on the hillside of Tri-City memory Garden, and the rain poured down upon us. It was as if all the angels were crying right along with us. After the burial we sat around my grandparents’ living room eating and quietly talking, secretly hoping for tomorrow when every thing would go back to normal.
It has been two years since that day, and sometimes I still hope it was all a dream. But nothing is more certain in life than death. (Strauss, 5) My grandma was one of my best friends and it hurts me that she missed out on my highschool graduation and the beginning of college. It also hurts me that she will not be here for my college graduation, for my wedding, and for the birth of my children, but I know she is up in heaven watching over me and waiting for the day until I can be with her.
Strauss, Lehman. When Loved Ones are taken in Death. Fincastle: Scripture Truth Book Co., Inc, 2002