There are certain things in life that just alter your perception on the way you live your life day by day. Certain people influence you in ways you never expected and certain events can completely change someones outlook on their very existence.
This is the story of one of those days for me.
When I was a child I would visit my grandmother every weekend and summer as my parents busily worked in order to pay for bills and my weekly purchasing of Pokemon cards from the local Dollar Store.
I would visit my grandmother and live with her and my grandfather everyday in the summer due to my young age and supposed inability to watch over myself for a fraction of the day as my parents would work then later come and pick me up to take me home.
In these precious and unforgettable days I would sit with my grandmother and eat apple slices and watch television programs with her. Her favorite to watch with me was Cailou, she said she liked it because it would always put the largest smile on my face everytime we watched it together.
My grandmother was my mentor for my young life. She taught me how to count to 100 and would help me with the alphabet and show me how to prepare some meals. We would also go into the garden and pick out fresh vegetables and sit on the deck and play Dominos together. It was honestly a perfect life.
One day my grandmother went into the garden and she dropped to her knees. She held her side and held in what seemed to be some sort of inexplicable pain within her. I asked if she was alright and she told me to go inside and occupy myself. I walked back slowly as I witnessed my grandmother on her knees in the middle of a garden in pain. That image will never leave my mind.
Eventually my grandparents sold their house and moved into a apartment. For a few months my grandmother was doing fine. She was able to move about and do her daily chores and other distractions and for a little while things were slowly becoming normal and I began to gain hope if for a moment that she would never leave again.
Then one day we got a call from my grandfather. She was in extreme pain and had became bed ridden for weeks. I sat there looking at my grandmother and kept thinking to myself that it wasn’t her time just yet. It just couldn’t be.
She soon checked into a hospital and my mother would spend weeks upon end sitting in that foresaken room holding my grandmothers hand and just talking to her in order to just be with her. I sat outside with my father and sister due to my mother thinking I couldn’t take what I was going to see.
One day I became desperate. I had to see my grandmother. I raced out of the car and entered the room that housed her being. There laid my grandmother connected to tubes and machines as redness flowed out and into her body. Twisted machinations littered the room making various soft noises as they pumped life into and out of her. That image would never leave my mind.
I walked up to my grandmother and saw a ghost, she was no longer the same physically. Her hair had paled and her skin began to resemble marble. She couldn’t move her arms in order to hug me so I took the initiative to wrap my arms around her and hold her close for one last time.
We didn’t exchange any words. She was leaving and I wasn’t prepared for this. She simply looked at me and smiled as I stared into her dying eyes I could see the blood leaving her body in my peripheral vision. My mother signalled me to leave the room. My sister took my hand and tried to walk me out but my feet had became stone. I simply stood there just a child completely bewildered by what I was seeing.
And once I had enough of that memory I turned around and walked out. I glanced back once to see my grandmother still staring at me. I smiled and tears ran down her face. I then left the room and never saw my grandmother alive again.
When the news broke that my grandmother had passed my mother had fallen into deep depression as she laid pathetically in my uncles’ arms as she sobbed away from the sudden news. I stood on the staircase witnessing my mother brought down to a fragile state. Yet again it was a image that would never leave the confounds of my mind.
As we attended to her funeral I stood in a suit barely a young teen shaking the hands of the seemingly endless waves of people who knew my grandmother and offered their sincerest apologies to me. It meant nothing to me.
She was gone now and I was never going to be able to sit on her deck in the hot weather and play Dominos with her as she would giggle endlessly as I would cheer everytime I won. She would never be there to take care of me when I was sick or kiss my forehead as I laid in her lap and took a nap. No, I was never going to able to do anything of that nature again. It was never going to be perfect again.
I just wished that I could just see her and tell her how much her death changed me. I’m not perfect and I’m not everything I set out to be just yet but it’s been hard to manage without her guidance and support. She was like a lighthouse in the middle of a coming storm. She always knew what to say and always knew when to do it.
You could say the reasons why I am sometimes so forgiving and understanding is because of her. My childhood wouldn’t have been a fraction of what it was if it weren’t for her. She taught me to love life and to always find a reason to live.
She taught me that.
I also learned that no matter how beautiful or wonderful a person you are you are always capable of dying a painful and excruciating death. If my grandmother, as pure as she was, could die in such a way it only makes me wonder what life has in store for me.
It’s hard to write about this and not hold back tears of what once was. You need to understand that I loved my grandmother more than anything I have ever had before. She was one of the most important people in my life and I love her with all my heart.
I have moved on but the pain is always going to be there. The twisted machines, the redness and the memories. They’ll haunt me but they won’t destroy me. If anything I have become a much stronger person out of them.
You made me who I am today and for that I will always be grateful.
I love you.
By Milan Jegenjan