Writing 101 – 6/5 – Suffering A Loss – Part 1

Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

I was a sophomore in college in Melbourne, FL.  Every year my grandparents took their RV to Florida for the winter.  While I was there they would stop and visit me before moving on to their final destination.  I was expecting them in the next day or so, to visit me and take me to dinner like they usually did.  Then I got a phone call from my aunt back in Massachusetts (where most of my family is).  She said that my grandfather had suffered a stroke and was currently in the hospital in pretty serious condition.  They managed to get my grandfather (and the RV) relocated to their usual destination near Bradenton, FL, so that my grandmother would have some support from their friends and family at the RV park.  My grandfather bounced back and forth from a hospital to a rehab center, sometimes making progress and sometimes slipping back.

My dad, aunt, and cousin flew down from Mass. to see him.  I gathered them at the airport and we headed over to the other side of the state where he was located.  He was at the rehab center when we went to visit him and he was sitting in the hallway when we got there.  The thing is, none of us recognized him.  He was so thin, and frail, and drooping on one side due to the stroke.  It wasn’t one of the most saddening things I have seen in my life.  My grandfather was always the healthy one in the family, watching what he ate and keeping tabs on his blood pressure.  This man was a mere shadow of the grandfather had known.  We sat and talked with him and tried to lift his spirits.  We even took him outside and managed to coax a semi-smile or two, but he wasn’t himself.  He couldn’t walk, could hardly talk, and all the personality that my grandfather had an abundance of seemed to have been stolen.

The next day I dropped my family at the airport so they could return home and I went back to school to prepare for class on Monday.  After returning from a morning class I had a voicemail from my aunt asking me to call her.  I knew why she was calling.  They thought my grandfather was improving, he was aware and talking quite a bit.  Shortly thereafter he passed away.  It was like the calm before the storm.  He died on February 19th, 2001.  Every year on the anniversary of his death I can’t help but marvel at how much time has passed.  I feel bad that my much younger brothers didn’t have as much time with him as I should and that my husband never got to meet him.  We have many fond memories of him and all the silly things he did, they can never be replaced.

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