My grandma was a loving person who cared about other people. She always knew what to get for birthdays and when she would send a present for our birthdays I always felt loved and special. When she sent presents for our birthday, she would put two items in for the birthday boy or girl one being clothes and the other a specific toy or gift that he or she wanted. She would also put a small toy for each of the children and a box of fruit snacks for the whole family.
Every time she came to visit our family, she would drive us to the ‘special’ shop in the local town and let us pick out two things that we wanted. She was always very patient with us because we always took a long time to choose. I liked spending time at my grandma’s house because it always felt special when we saw her; we did not get to see her often because she, along with my aunt and cousins, lived about three hours away in a little town in the south of England. Although whenever we went there it was fun because Grandma always had lots of activities for us all to do.
She had a lot of Barbie Dolls, Tinker Toys, and Little People that I could play with. Her house was very large with lots of places to wander around with many bedrooms and a quiet room where you were allowed to go when you were feeling troubled and disturbed and to seek help and support – it always worked for me. She also had a drawer with prizes that she sometimes gave out to us for our entertainment. In her flower filled garden she had small streams, trees, and rocky hills for us to explore.
Whenever I needed help or wanted to talk to her about something she was always glad to assist me. She was extremely kind and thoughtful and I always had lots and lots of fun there. At her house during Christmas she would always have a big decorated Christmas tree with a golden star at the top which she would save for me to put on which always stood in the middle of her well furnished living room. It seemed like hundreds of presents always lay under the sweet scented branches, waiting to be opened by happy and excited children on Christmas morning.
Stockings for my grandma, grandpa, and their evil little dog Benny hung on the fireplace. Also, she had all kinds of different and interesting wind up toys, such as a little green frog that hopped across the flat surface area, which I and my family had an amazingly fun time playing with. She also had lots of yummy snacks for me and my brothers and sisters, like different types of fruit snacks and juice boxes, such as Daffy Duck, Scooby Doo, or sharks to munch on all day long. One time when my grandma came over she had an irritating cough that would not go away.
I felt worried because she was going to the doctor and they were trying to figure out what the problem was. I found out later that would be last time that I would ever see her still with her hair. The first memory that I have of her with no hair was when I went to her house and she was wearing a green and brown beanie (I had never seen her wear one before). The doctors had figured out that she had lung cancer. Although I knew she was ill I didn’t fully understand why. She had to have her head shaved, which I thought was a weird idea at that time as I was only young.
I felt really strange and sad seeing the smooth scalp instead of the usual head of grey curly hair. When my grandma was sick I went to visit her with my family because she was in the hospital. The white walls seemed plain to me, and the gross feeling and smell of the hospital and lots of very sick people made me want to leave immediately. When I saw her, people were always surrounding her bed, and even though she was extremely sick, she would always make an effort to be sweet and kind to us; although the sadness in her eyes gave away how she really felt.
For weeks on end my mom would go to the hospital to visit and help take care of her, leaving the rest of the family home to wait anxiously for her to return with news on my grandma’s health. Even though I got to spend weeks at a time with only my dad and siblings, the activities never really seemed very fun, with the thought of my Grandma dying always on my mind. It was only the sadness of that thought, but also the sadness that we would never get a special package for our birthdays anymore. One day, after a couple of weeks of being gone, my mom called to tell us that she was coming home.
My grandma had been getting steadily sicker and sicker and was in major pain all of the time, but my mom could stay away from us forever. She came home that Saturday. On Sunday morning my grandma was having much worse pain than normal, and my mom decided to go back sooner than she normally would have. Unfortunately she did not go soon enough, for on Monday morning we received a call telling us that my grandma had passed away that night, peacefully, while sleeping. The feeling that came upon me cannot be described. It might have been the numbness of it all, but it was a tidal wave that threw me across a beach.
I felt sad and lonely, and I knew that I would never again feel the comfort of her fruit snacks and birthday packages. My mom and sister started crying and my dad looked like he was about to, so I left the room in order to keep the dust out of my eyes. My mom left the next day to go and comfort her only sister, my aunt, and then came back after a few days to get us and drive out there for the funeral which I of course was dreading. Since my grandma and her family had been Catholic, they had a catholic mass for her. It was kind of strange for me because I hadn’t ever been to a mass before.
The setup was pretty basic, with an aisle and benches on either side. A podium on a raised step faced the congregation and had chairs behind it for the different speakers. The room itself was round with a large picture of Christ on the back wall. The priest was an elderly man with a dull deep set face. His Irish accent was probably the coolest thing about him. The ceremony had lots of prayers and random singing. I thought it was pretty boring. There were stories about my grandma that were told by my mom and aunt; those were interesting. A large casket sat on a trolley for us all to look at.
It was not open, thankfully. We were handed out programs with a picture of my grandma on the front and the ceremony outline inside. There was also a poem about her on it. Afterwards, there was a huge family dinner at a golf course in memory of her love for playing golf. They played a PowerPoint with loads of pictures and one of her favourite songs; it was cool. They had all kinds of desserts after the dinner. There was a really good chocolate cake there. After that we got to look around the building, including the hall of fame, where we saw a plaque with my grandma’s name on it.
I felt sad when I thought of her and all of the things she had done. After the dinner I and my family went to my aunt’s house to spend the night. We stayed there for another day doing activities that weren’t very much fun. We also visited my grandma again at the mortuary. My mom and my dad talked for a long time on the way home, and decided that it would be better to live closer to my aunt and cousins. My life changed when in only three weeks, my dad got permission from work, found a house to buy only two hours away from where my aunt lived, and managed to sell our house also.
My parents left for a day to go and check out the house, my siblings and I each went to stay with a friend while they were gone. My mom and dad left early that morning and dropped us all off, then they came to pick us up late that night. They had decided that the house was perfect for us, and it even had a big tree in the front yard. My dad hired moving people to come and pack up all our stuff. For a while, we had people wrapping up all our stuff in crumbly brown paper that got annoying because of the loud noise. Each of my family members got two boxes for our stuff, excluding my parents of course.
It was kind of exciting to be moving closer to my cousins, even though it was sad to leave all of my friends. The moving people managed to pack up all our stuff in just a couple of days and load all of the boxes onto their van. I got to help, and it was kind of fun. We left in our van the day after the moving van left, and it took us close to six hours to drive all the way to our new house in Folsom, California. We still got there before the moving van did; they didn’t get there until a few days had passed. When we arrived, at about eleven o’clock at night, we ran inside to check it out, even though we were tired.
Of course we had to sleep on the floor in our sleeping bags that night and others until the moving van came with all of our beds and other things. The van finally arrived while my family and I were gone, and my dad was at home. They came earlier than they had originally said. Once we got home we hurried to our rooms to start unpacking our things. It took awhile. Our house seemed really big at first, especially compared to our old house. It had two stories, unlike our old house which had only one. My life was impacted greatly when my grandma died of lung cancer.
This has changed me because I would not be here if my grandma had not died. I am not saying I am glad that she died, but it has affected me in some good ways. This experience has taught me that things can change quickly, even when you don’t want them to change at all. This experience has changed how I interact with others because moving has allowed me to make new friends. To me, this experience was like a mountain being moved. Before this, I had never really had anyone die in my life that I loved or was close too; now I have personal experience.
Hospitals have never really been real to me, only a part of movies and TV shows, but now I know that they can really impact you if you are not careful. I hope I will never have the need to repeat this experience. My life has changed through the move because I have made new friends and gotten used to a bigger house. Even though my grandma is no longer with me physically she will always be with me, showing me the way and being there to offer advice and support with life, and hopefully I will be with her again some day soon. She will always be my grandma and my best friend.