Anthony - Portland, Oregon
Entered on March 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death

Life runs from beginning to end; there’s no stopping it. But after you’re dead what else is there? Who will be by you when you die?

When I was about ten my grandpa, Louie Lazzaro, gave me one of the oddest presents I’d have to say I have ever received. He gave my parents, himself, and me cemetery plots. Now this was no ordinary present by any means; my mother was shocked, I was confused, and as for my dad I couldn’t tell what he thought at all. I actually struggled with the meaning of this gift for a long time. It’s not like my grandpa wanted us to die. Maybe he thought it was his time, maybe he was just giving up on life?

I thought about the motivations my grandpa Louie could have had for giving us cemetery plots of all things. He gave them to us not even on an occasion such as a birthday, but rather out of the blue. I thought about this for about a year before I could muster up the courage to ask my father about it. In fact, during that time he got Alzheimer’s and eventually ended up dying, taking up his of the four plots. But I just couldn’t understand why someone would do this until I finally asked my dad why my grandpa Louie gave us such a peculiar present. His response to my question was anything but what I expected. He turned to me and after a long thoughtful pause said, ”You can love someone all your life, but once you die you’ll never be with them; but if you can be with them after life then you can love them forever.” Just after my grandpa Louie gave us the gravestones he got Alzheimer’s and forgot everything about him self. He even forgot my parent’s names, but he remembered mine up to the day he died. He knew he was dying even as he gave us his and our own graves. He knew that he couldn’t be with us forever, or not even for much longer. In the end he couldn’t even be sure he could remember our names. If he couldn’t be with us in life then he could at least be with us in death. My grandpa Louie’s meaning in life was accumulated in being with the ones he loved, and death shouldn’t separate us from that love. My grandfather has had the greatest impact any person has ever had on my life.

In the end, Louie Lazzaro had a disease that was suppose to make him forget. Yet somehow he knew my name. Anthony Louis Lazzaro. He gave us graves so that he could always be with us. So that when people went to the cemetery they would see his name, and next to it would be mine. I believe in remembering people’s names till the day you die, and loving that name forever after.