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March 5, 2007
There are many questions that are asked throughout the day. But only some are answered. I think the hardest question to answer is what death is. Many say that death is only the beginning. That you live on after you are gone from earth. But some say you’re completely done when you die. What do you believe? You can’t come back and tell everyone what really happens which is why the idea of death is so scary to so many. I never thought about it in depth before my grandmother died.
It was March 5, 2007. It was a normal day and nothing really exciting happened. My friend Andrea and I were at my house basically the whole day after school, like always. It turned to night and we were watching Fantastic Four. It was just us and my mom home. I remember sitting on the couch and my moms’ phone rang behind my head but I couldn’t find it quick enough. So when I found it I gave it to my mom to call the person back.
The next thing I heard was my mom grabbing her jacket and saying “I’ll be back, that was your aunt. I have to go your grandma is sick”. I could tell my mother was frantic and was already crying. I knew from that moment on that I wouldn’t see my grandma alive again. I froze. But I didn’t want to say anything to my friend, so I just laid back down. About two minutes later I walked Andrea home. As I approached my front door on my way back home I took a step back and looked up at the star coated sky. I said out loud, “God, I know my grandma has died tonight, but please give me a sign that she’ll be okay.” I watched my breath go through the air and then put my head down and walked into my house and sat on the couch.
My phone was in my pocket and when I took it out and opened it up a small piece of paper fell onto my lap. I put down my phone and looked at the tiny note. It read, “A pleasant surprise is in store for you”. I realized that it was my fortune cookie from three days ago. I forgot that it was in there.
A few seconds later my phone rings and it’s my sister calling. I pick it up only to hear my sister trying to talk through her sobs. She gives me the bad news that our grandmother had passed away. She told me she was on her way home and not to worry. I hung up the phone and immediately started to cry. But the weird thing is I stopped right away. I thought when this day came I wouldn’t be able to stop crying. I sat on the couch and waited for my sister to come home. I was worried about her because she was a new driver and I didn’t want her to get into an accident because she was distracted with the thought of what just happened or she couldn’t see because she was crying so much. See, Meaghan was one of those girls that were really emotional and cried about many things. And when she cried, she did a lot. She burst through the door and hugged me. She’s crying uncontrollably and I begin to again.
“I called Mom to tell her I was coming home and she was crying. I didn’t know what was wrong but I managed to hear her say Grandma passed away.” Meaghan said calming down now. I told her what had happened earlier that night and how I just knew she was gone. We were there for each other but Meaghan didn’t want to be in the house with just the two of us, so we walked over to our friends’ house. Andrea was there to open the door and we told her the news. We went to her downstairs and talked with her, her sister, and her mom. They have always been there for us and we told them everything.
“Oh my god, oh my god are you serious?” Meaghan said freaking out.
I thought another tragedy had happened. Maybe with my mom getting into a car accident on her way home. She hangs up the phone and says, “She has a pulse.”
I immediately spring up and show everyone the fortune cookie. They were amazed. But I knew her body wasn’t strong enough to come back, and about ten minutes later she was pronounced dead.
When my dad came home from work, my dad, Meaghan, and I headed up to the hospital. As we walked up to the station where she was I saw more and more of my family members. There standing outside her room was her two sisters, her brother, her two daughters, and my grandmas’ daughter in law, her two sons, and my two older boy cousins. And as I walked up to them I knew that from this moment on that I would see things that I never thought I would. I saw my family united over the love and loss of the strongest woman we would ever know. We hugged each other and just talked. We knew that funeral stress was coming up and all the things that come with losing a family member. My family is the type that makes everything into a joke. So there was some laughing, but not much at all.
The doctors told us we could go in and see her but me and Meaghan refused to. We all decided to go home and get some rest since there was nothing we could do. Then I saw the thing that spoke out to me most about the whole experience. I saw my older cousin Shawn cry. I, he, and his girlfriend were behind our other family as we walked out of the hospital door. I don’t know why I looked back; it felt like someone pulled my head around without warning. I saw him look back at her room with tears on his face. I could tell he was holding back more tears, and refused to let them out. He simply looked at the room and put his head down. But I turned around after I saw this so he wouldn’t see me looking at him. I was always used to Shawn being the happy, fun cousin and the one that says random things. For him to be crying was like seeing everything I knew of him completely come crashing down. When I saw this I realized that even the funniest of people I know, cried too.
As we got home my moms worrying only got worse. She was working herself up so much over trying to think about what had happened to her mother only a few hours ago. I told her to calm down but she couldn’t stop thinking about it. My mother is the kind of person that won’t drop things. She was trying to figure out how her mother died.
I kept saying, “It was her time to go. God wanted her and this is the way he took her.”
But she still wouldn’t stop.
My mom kept saying, “I still think we could have stopped her from dying.”
Meaghan and I decided to go to school the next day. When we got home my Aunt Annette, my cousin Bailey, Shawn, his girlfriend Heather, and Andrea were there. My mom and aunt had the stress of planning out the funeral arrangements. All of us decided to just go to eat at Anthony’s Pizzeria near my house. That’s where the crying started for me, Bailey, and Shawn. We talked about the things that would make us happy. And we would make little jokes here and there to make each other feel better. I said I would miss my grandmother’s voice. But when I saw Shawn cry again it wasn’t like the first time. I stared at him as he sat there. Laughing through his tears. I thought he would hide.
But things after that got kind of happier in a way. Bailey, Meaghan, and I started to make the posters for the wake and funeral. You know when you walk into the room and near the doors are the posters with all the pictures of the person who passed away? Well, we were making those. Looking at all the pictures of her made us laugh and remember certain things. With doing this it would only make the following stressful day calmer and more bearable. All of us knew that the next day would bring us more sorrow and confusion.
My mom broke me out of my sleep to tell me to get ready. My mom and dad went in one car to the funeral home and me and my sister followed in her car soon after. We parked. Got out. And walked in. My sister was more scared then me, I could already tell. My mom assured me that she looked fine and looked peaceful. And surprisingly she said it with a smile. I approached the open casket. I look down at the woman I knew and loved so well. Her body was just there. Eyes closed, not talking. I missed her but at the same time did not want her back. I thought- she’s okay. Finally she’s okay. The woman that had struggled with a disease for almost 24 years was at peace. She didn’t have to worry and cry every night about it and what else was going wrong in her life. I miss her and love her so much still. So this is to Patricia, my grandmother, my hero.