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Death's Lesson
By Mitchell W.
age: 14
Oregon

I used to peer out the window and I’d see the house. I knew we were there every time I saw it. When I would walk through the front door, I could immediately smell an apple pie in the oven. My Grandpa would almost always be outside in the shop, and my Grandma was usually baking a desert.

The first place I would go was out to the shop to see my Grandpa. He was usually working on a “Back-Scratcher” or even a “Spanking-Stick” just to scare me. I loved to visit their house in Eureka, until they moved to Albany anyway.

My grandparents moving to Albany didn’t seem to be that bad after a while though. We were able to spend Christmas together, and it was so much better to see my grandparents every week, other than every day. Speaking of Christmas, my Grandpa was always the one that had the biggest heap of presents out of everyone in our whole family. He was the slowest opening them too. Either way, them moving to Albany seemed to be a tremendous thing after all.

Once my Grandpa got older, he was unable to walk and had to sacrifice his cane. We decided that he would need an easier way to get around, and that’s when we thought of getting him a “Power Chair.” When he first sat down in his “Power Chair,” his exact first words were, “It’s comfy!” You could tell by his facial expression that he was excited. He wouldn’t settle for anything but full speed. All of a sudden, you’d hear the screeching sound of the chair, and you’d see him come flying around the corner. He rarely let me use it. Most of the time, it was his, and his only.

Everything about my Grandpa seemed merry, until one sad day, when my world turned upside down. My dad received a phone call from my Grandma. As I was walking down the stairs to get some breakfast, I noticed my dad at the bottom waiting for me. Little did I know what he was going to tell me was actually heartbreaking news. Hearing that my Grandpa had a stroke sent a cold chill throughout my body. Sadness came over me, and I felt miserable.

The next day, my family and I took a trip to the Albany General Hospital. The secretary had located my Grandpa’s room, and told us to go right on in. It was silent. He was still breathing, but not very well. He looked sad and miserable lying in the bed. It was just too much for me, and I couldn’t take it anymore. Tears rolled down my face as I watched my Grandpa fight for his last breaths.

I straightened my collar and tucked in my shirt. My dad called me down and told me it was time to leave. We piled into our car and headed for the ceremony. People and relatives I didn’t even know were coming from all over the world. It was a nice time to meet new people, so I seized the opportunity regardless of my emotions.

Everyone piled into the pews and was told to be silent. I decided to sit by my cousins, who were younger than me, and didn’t seem as interested. My uncle took the podium and began by listing my grandpa’s wife, brothers, sisters, and sons. Then it was time for a short biography. During the biography, I was thinking. I realized how much he had been through, and how determined he proved to be. It was strange, because all of a sudden, I took the saddest moment I’ve ever experienced in my life and turned it into a happy one.

Upon leaving the funeral, I had learned many lessons and they weren’t careless lessons that you eventually forget. They were lessons that can save someone’s life and could be passed down throughout many generations. I plan to tell my kids the story of my Grandpa and hopefully they realize the same I did the day my Grandpa passed away.
 

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