It is night. There are two kids, brother and sister, and an adult. The adult is a good friend of the kids; in fact, you could call him their neighbor. They are waiting for their order at Fosters. The boy’s cell phone rings. He answers it. He listens to the caller. His expression is like stone. He hands the phone to his sister. She listens. She gasps. She hands the phone to the adult. The adult talks to the caller. He turns the phone off.
That was me, when I got the news that my grandpa died. I was in shock. I felt like ice.
Outside, I am like walking stone. Inside, I’m a wreck. I have never felt this way before. Even when my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Garrison (whom I had grown very attached to), died, I did not feel this way. Both of these deaths in my life, that of my teacher and close friend and that of my grandpa, have taught me that people die, even though it might be too soon. This I have learned to believe after the death of my grandpa.
Many people don’t know that my grandpa died because I have never said anything about it, except to my closest friends. When I’m at school, only the teachers know what happened and they keep it a secret. My classmates treat me as if nothing is wrong. Sometimes the stress gets to such a high level that I just want to yell at those who tease me. I want to tell them that my grandpa died, but then I think that would set off a chain reaction of more teasing bombs.
When Mrs. Garrison died, it was much too soon. School was about to start, and the fourth graders were waiting to have Mrs. Garrison as their fifth grade teacher when school started. Before she had died, she had colon cancer. It had been about a year after she finished treatment that she died. After she passed away, I went to her memorial service. I found out that she died doing one of the things she loved doing: hiking with friends. I was planning on coming over to the school where she worked after high school started. If only I could have seen her once more, hugged her like I used to do after school. Kids used to tease me because I had a teacher as a friend. Those days were too short. It was not her time to go.
My grandpa died when I was having a good time. He also died too soon. I tried to see him as much as possible, but with school and homework, I couldn’t get out to Ojai that often. He never lived close enough for me to see him daily. When I did see him, we tried to squeeze the most out of it, like squeezing an orange to make orange juice. Just about every time I saw him, he either had a tennis racket or a golf club in his hand. He always had a camera with him, no matter where he went. He occasionally had two or three cameras at one time. My mom had a hard time finding pictures with him in them. He shouldn’t have died then. I wasn’t ready for him to die. He was in my life since I was born. He needed me as much as I needed him. People die, even though it might be too soon. This I believe.
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