Death is a difficult part of life someone has to encounter at any age. This can be by a close friend, family member, or coworker. Believe it or not death is around us everyday all day long. I believe it takes someone a lifetime to deal with the death of a love one. I experienced death at the age of seventeen with my abuelo.
About a month or two after we arrived home from Puerto Rico my dad received a phone call. My abuelo was in the hospital and he was really sick. My abuela told us that he had been sick for a long time with his heart and he hasn’t been taking his medicine because it was too expensive. My dad had to fly down to Puerto Rico and help my grandparents out. I prayed everyday that my abuelo would be okay. I went to sleep every night not knowing if he was well or not or if I would ever see him again. My dad told us that he was bringing my abuelo and abuela home. But before my dad arrived my mother sat down to talk to me, my brother and my sister. She told us that my abuelo was not going to be the same because he had a stroke. He could barely talk and he might not remember who we even were. As I waited for my mom to pull in the driveway I couldn’t wait to see them. I missed my abuelo, abuela, and my dad so much and I just wanted to see them. As the Escalade pulled into our driveway my heart started to race. I was so excited and at the same time I was scared, I didn’t know how to expect my abuelo to look or act like. When he stepped out the car I didn’t know what to do. He didn’t look like the same happy, loving man that I knew. The man that stood in front of me I did not know-but I did love with all my heart. I walked up to him and gave him a hug and told him I loved him. I tried so hard not to cry. He looked like he was confused but I knew he knew who I was. I knew this was just the start of the hardest part of my life.
Though I was confused, there was one thing I was sure of : God gave me a mother that cared for me more than I knew. She helped me understand everything that was happening to my abuelo because she felt that I deserved to know and I was old enough. I wanted to know the truth about what was happening to him and she was the only one that would tell me. She never lied to me. She told me everything the doctor told her, but I knew there was something still missing. The hardest thing she told me- the doctors could not help him anymore. He was dying and it was just a matter of time. I knew it wasn’t the doctors fault, but I knew my abuela didn’t think the same way. That night was the first night I cried myself to sleep. I was going to lose my abuelo either tomorrow, in a week, a month, or a year. No one knew and that was the hardest part.
As it got harder to cope with, God helped me find my softball coach to talk with for help. I explained to her about how hard it was to see him hurt so much and not being able to do anything about it or know what to say to him. I told her that I didn’t want to lose him but I knew I was going to. I didn’t know what to do. She gave me the best advice that anyone ever gave me. She asked me if I could live with my self if I didn’t talk to him before he died-if I didn’t tell him how much I will miss him and how much I loved him. She really opened up my eyes. That night I talked to my abuelo. I walked into his room and asked my dad if I could talk to him. I walked to the side of my abuelo’s bed and stood there. I tried to speak, but nothing came out of my mouth. I finally cleaned my throat and started by telling him I loved him so much and always will. I told him that I missed how he used to always make me laugh and there wasn’t one moment were I was sad or mad around him. I told him that he always made me happy and I loved being around him and hated to be away from him; and how he used to always tell me its bedtime when we be talking on the phone. I wanted to say so much more, but I saw the sorrow in his eyes and a tear fall from his eye. The last thing I told my abuelo was that it was okay to give up, that I would rather see him happy and healthy in heaven than down here suffering. I gave him a kiss and left.
The next morning I woke up and heard a voice down stairs. I walked down stairs and saw a man and lady that I had never seen before. They were talking to my mother and father in my abuelo’s room. I didn’t want to know what was going on so I went back up stairs and went back to bed. But I couldn’t go back to sleep because tears started to roll down my face. I knew what happened but I didn’t want to believe it. I tried to convince myself that he wasn’t gone but nothing worked. Then my father called me down stairs and I prayed harder that I was wrong and he was alive. I got out of bed and walked down stairs towards my fathers room. As I passed the living room I saw my abuela sitting on the bed, crying; I knew he was gone. I walked into my fathers room and looked at him. I had never seen my father like this, he face was full of sorrow, hurt, and pain. As I walked toward him he asked me if I knew what happened and I said yes and started to cry. He grabbed me and started to cry with me. He let me cry on his shoulders and he told me something that I will never forget. He told me that I was my abuelo’s favorite grandbaby. That day I lost my favorite person, my best friend, and my heart.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.