I was eight years and almost three months old. It was a chilly winter morning on December 2nd of 2005. Before I even opened my eyes, I knew the weather was so cold, I would be able to see my breath when I exhaled. The night before, I was thrilled knowing that my first art show was the next day and I had been preparing for it for almost an entire year! My mouth ached from smiling so much I knew that in 24-hours, the most important people in my life – my parents, my tio Bill, and my Grandpa Van – would all be at my art show to see the painting I had devoted so much time and so many paint strokes into.Order now
The morning of the art show came around like the speed of light. Before I even opened my eyelids and wiped away the goop from the crevices of my coffee brown eyes, I was forced to rush and awaken completely by an abrupt shaking movement of my warm, cozy, soulmate – which I like to call my bed. I opened my eyes, as laborious as it was. Oh, and it was my mom shaking my bed – like always – no surprise. Or was it? I heard a sort of panic in my mom’s voice that gave me a rare, uncomfortable feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
As my mom shook my bed, in a frantic voice that I could barely understand; she blurted the words through tears and worry, “Grandpa Van is dying! ” I hurriedly thought to myself, how is this happening to the life of someone who spent hours in Toys “R” Us searching for everything on my birthday and Christmas lists. I couldn’t begin to fathom my life in his absence. I couldn’t get over this thought. Every minute that passed on the way to the hospital seemed as if someone was holding the hand on my watch to keep it from tiking at normal speed.
That car ride was a blur of misery that I couldn’t seem to escape quickly enough. We finally arrived to Sharp Memorial Hospital; parked and marched solemnly inside – knowing more sorrow was on the way. A few moments after my siblings, mom and I started speed-walking towards the entrance of the building, I began feeling the cold sensation of tears wanting to pour south out of my eyes like the way water can crash through a dam and create a waterfall. Thankfully, my will to hold the tears back was stronger than my urge to let them break free.
The dam was my temporary resolve to be strong for my Grandpa Van who I knew would see me any minute, so I knew I couldn’t let the sobbing let loose… well, at least not quite yet. The process of speed walking and trying to find the room he was in was like waiting for rain in a drought. Hopeless and disappointing. Then, my mom jerked her body quickly into a room on her left. My siblings and I followed frantically, and I tried to keep my best composure; Grandpa Van had never wanted me to see him die. So if I might have the chance of witnessing his death, I felt the duty of fulfilling maturity and composure to the best of my ability.
I needed to be tough for Grandpa Van and my mom. I knew that even though she had already began crying uncontrollably, there was no way I could give up on being strong for either one of them. My mom started causing me thoughts; thoughts that Grandpa Van had no chance of surviving a few more weeks or days of the cancer that had spread around his body rapidly in just a matter of weeks that we found out. As much as I wanted to deny the thought, she had surely caused the hope I had of Grandpa Van possibly making it another few days, to vanish.
Finally, I couldn’t stand just sitting there watching my Grandpa Van die; I made my way over to one of those cold hospital chairs and sat myself on it, not considering how much I loathe the smell of death it reeked with. Nothing mattered more at the moment than being next to the person who gave me so much… flashing back to my third Christmas, the day he bought me my cozy critter pillow I still sleep with today, gosh I don’t think I could sleep without it; but not only did he just give me physical possessions, but a purpose on how I should live.
Though he was beyond weak, I had just felt his hand reach over to touch my arm which was resting on his bed. I got the chills because it was as if I felt an angel touch me. Right then, the dam in my eyes that had been holding in all my tears went crashing down! In my head, I could see a flash of all my memories with my Grandpa Van. All the moments he had spent playing hot wheels with me or taking me in his new car to Starbucks, had somehow all wrapped together to teach me the purpose of living. But what that purpose was, I still couldn’t identify.
As he was there touching my arm, in less than a second, I felt an instant cold rush sensation in his hand. I looked over at his eyes and knew that was the moment he would close his eyes forever. It was odd because I possessed this inner peace about his death the second I knew he was gone. It was that I knew he was in a better place with more angels like himself. Tears were still sprinting down my cheeks as if they were racing. The feeling of his cold hand that was still touching my arm gave me a sense of revelation. Revelation of what that lesson was Grandpa Van taught me.
It was to be just as he was – selfless. He gave me, and everyone he knew, so much without wanting or taking anything in return, that I can’t even picture having to live life without knowing someone so selfless. Grandpa Van was the most inspirational role model I’ve ever known; I see it as my duty to always strive towards being nothing but selfless, just like that angel up there that I still feel close to and I know I always will. My art show had came around so fast that night, though I had almost forgotten about it. I remember standing next to my blue flower painting waiting for my Tio Bill to arrive.
I looked up from my head hanging in exhaustion because of the emotional roller coaster I had experienced throughout that day. As my head was raised, right across from me was an older teenage girl who had a painting of an angel dressed in a white cloth looking down on children playing. It instantly lit a smile on my face that was difficult to remove the rest of the night. A tear of that inner peace Grandpa Van left me made its way slowly down my cheek. Looking at the painting of the angel, I then said in a low voice, “Thank you for everything Grandpa. I love you. ”