Second Chances

Julianne - Solon, Ohio
Entered on January 14, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

It was about one in the morning as my uncle walked out of the room. As the door clicked shut, seemed like a sign, or as if he was given permission. My grandfather gave one more breath of life and closed his eyes; just like that he was gone.

It would be unlikely that he’d be on ladders in mid October, when the leaves change from a summer green to a burnt orange and the temperatures became hand numbing. Nevertheless, a man who didn’t believe in age, that’s exactly what he did, causing him to almost lose his life when he fell and hit his head. He only suffered minor injuries in the end, meaning it wasn’t his time to go. He wasn’t ready.

In mid 2006 my grandpa was diagnosed with cancer. Not letting it get in the way, he lived his life by having fun, going to Las Vegas, cooking for the senior center and attending functions while maintaining full chemotherapy treatments. He had his good days and his bad. As months went on, my grandpa’s condition got worse. The cancer spread into his bones and his strength began to deteriorate. When I came by to see him, I felt the fright under my skin. He sat upright in his chair, covered in waves of blankets.

“Hi Gramps” I said, the worry in my voice.

“Julianne! Sweetie, how are you?” Grandpa replied. You can sense the excitement in his tone.

My mom and uncle happened to always be by his side, tending to his needs and taking care of everything else. My two aunts came from Columbus to help too. I was told by my mother that they spent their time telling stories about the past, just like Grandpa wanted. It sounded fantastic hearing my grandfather laugh like old times. He sounded like a little boy being attacked with tickles. It was mid December when the problems happened to be at their all time high. My grandfather’s condition turned out absolutely terrible. He had just returned from a week stay at the hospital, and was now located in the den with his own hospital bed. Each time I was there, I had tears pouring from my eyes. Not only did he sound helpless, but he looked so small and thin.

One day, before his death, my oldest sister Katie had returned home from college for winter break and visited him. She told me how painful it was to visit him. The quiver in her voice made the feeling a hundred times worse. I didn’t want to see him like that. As I got home the next day, I was informed that he was gone. I lost all feeling in my knees, but I knew he didn’t need to suffer anymore.

I believe in perfect timing. The way he died seemed better than what most cancer patients could hope for surrounded by family and at home. He faced a lot in his lifetime and in that moment in time; it was like he was done fighting the pain that he had gone through.