On Death, Change and Bad Cooking

Laura - Creve Coeur, Missouri
Entered on December 22, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change
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I believe that every bad thing can be good, if you look hard enough. Since kindergarten, I was told that change was an excellent thing. I was always a bit confused, though. What was change? Was it growing a year older or moving to a new house or losing a friend, or was it something much more? I wasn’t sure. So, I let it go. On September twelfth, I learned exactly what change meant – and that it wasn’t always a good thing. I was called up to the principal’s office, where my mother was waiting for me. For a while, she was silent, holding back tears.

Then: “She’s gone.”

Those two very simple words changed my life forever. At eleven years old, I had never experienced the death of someone I cared about. It took me a while to grasp that I’d never see my grandmother again. (It didn’t really sink in until the funeral, as I constantly denied what had happened.)

Over the next few days, I thought about nothing except my grandmother. She had been amazing. She was funny, nice and always interested in what was going on in my life. She was a great artist, and had a huge backyard and tons of toys left over from her days of motherhood. My friends and I preferred hanging out at her house to being at our own. (She also happened to be a terrible cook, but hey, it meant more Chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s for us. Who were we to complain?)

Her dying was impossible though. I’d never even let it enter my mind. Even when she was put into intensive care to get brain surgery to take care of a tumor, I knew she’d get better. I just knew it. And I was right. She did. After the surgery, she was kept in the hospital for a few weeks, during which she began to improve. The doctors said she’d be able to come home soon. It was a relief for me, knowing that I’d have grandmother back. Sadly, her tumor had been embedded right into her brain; a part of her brain had had to be removed with the tumor. She’d be a different person when she came home, but to me, she would always be my grandmother. Nothing would change that.

Well, almost nothing.

Two days before she could return home, she had a stroke. She died. Since then, my life has been different. At first, I thought the change of not having a grandmother was horrible. Looking back, I realize that, despite what it cost, it has had a positive impact on my life. I value life more now that I know that nothing and no one lasts forever.

Change can be a good thing, even if it seems bad at first. For instance, in honor of my grandmother, I’ve learned how to cook, so that one day, my grandchildren will be spoiled rotten with home cooked meals and McDonald’s. The best of both worlds.