November 18th: A Memoir

By: Stephanie C.

That day is still very clear in my mind. It wasn’t rainy, but I almost wish it had been. It was November 18, 2006. My family had already spent many days at the hospital, waiting outside and talking in quiet voices. No happiness dwelt there, only fear and sorrow.  We all had a quiet, mutual understanding of what was happening, and the most likely outcome- death.  Many tears were shed outside that hospital room.  I myself lived that week in disbelief and that silent nervousness that accompanies one when they are dreading something.

My grandfather, said to only have a few days to live, lay almost motionless in that stuffy room. I hated it, but never wanted to leave.  I remember when he was first put into the hospital after falling in his house.   The first time I saw him after that, he looked so thin and fragile, as though the slightest touch would cause him to crumble into a pile of dust.  He took my hand, whispering his love for me, in a hoarse voice so unlike his usual booming one. I blinked back my tears and stared at his pitiful face, willing him to get better. I prayed for him diligently in those days.  I wanted him to remain with us but, knowing he most likely wouldn’t, I prayed that he might come to know the Father before he died.  My father told me that he did indeed accepted Christ after his hospitalization.

After days of sitting outside that room, busying myself with Sudoku, my mother suggested I try and spend some time out of the hospital.  Grandpa, after all, was expected to last the night.  I sighed.  I planned out how I would promise my return now, and, upon my actual return, kiss him good-bye for what I knew would most likely be forever. He barely responded to my promise and “I love you Grandpa.”  I hoped with all my might that he would still be here when I returned.

My best friend, Lindsay, who’s own grandfather had died only a week before, came to pick me up.  I promised my beloved, fading grandfather that I would come back later and, with tears in my eyes, I departed.  At Lindsay’s, I almost forgot my troubles.  She comforted me as only best friends who have felt the same pain can do.

I returned to the hospital many hours later and my mother came out to greet us. She had the strangest look on her face, full of weariness and sorrow.  I overlooked it at the time, perhaps wishing away the probable with my obstinate desires.  She greeted me with the smile of a loving, sympathetic mother.  Looking into my eyes sorrowfully, she said, “Grandpa is no longer in pain.” I stared at her, not believing my ears, not wanting it to be true.  How could it be?  He was supposed to be here when I returned.  The world seemed to stand still for me in that moment, as tears spilled down my face, hindered by nothing.  Lindsay tried to comfort me with a look of pity and understanding in her face which, though ignored at the time, I will forever remember.  I somehow got out of the car and up the stairs to the room, the one I will dread forevermore.  The room was still stuffy, but somehow more silent. My grandfather lay on his bed, pale, lifeless, with his eyes rolled to the top of his head.  It was true-he was gone. I had never got to say goodbye for the last time.

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2 thoughts on “November 18th: A Memoir

  1. Yes you did.

    “A tree is known by the fruit it bears.”
    For this reason, and without knowing him, I know he was a good man.

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