Grandpa's Gift

The first person ever to die that was close to me was my grandfather. Since I was a teenager I have always gotten weird feelings, when something is about to happen. I can't tell the future or anything but it's almost like a feel what is going to happen before it does. So.. I wasn't shocked when my Mom told me that my Grandfather had been diagnosed with Cancer. It hit him hard and fast.

I had enter the Colorguard that year before my sophomore year in H.S. Towards the end of the summer I had to go off to Vernon, NJ for band camp. When I left my Grandfather was not in good condition but I was certain he would be there when I got back. I spent the whole week at camp and upon returning home the whole team performed our new show for our cheering parents. In the crowds I noticed that my mother wasn't there, only my stepfather, Bob. Excited I ran up to Bob hugging him and asking him how he liked the show. He said it was wonderful but told me that I needed to hurry and get my stuff because we needed to leave right away. When I got in the car he told me that my Grandpa had taken a turn for the worst and had gone into a coma. He said that he and my mom had discussed taking me out of camp earlier but had hoped that Grandpa would make it through.

We rushed to my Grandparents house. As I entered I said hello to my Mom and twin sister, Michelle. My Mom told me that they didn't expect him to make it through the night and that I needed to go and say my goodbye's. I then entered my Grandpa's room. He was in a hospital bed and my Uncle was sitting with him. My Uncle gave me a hug and left the room so I could say goodbye to my Grandpa. I stood next to the bed and I told him how much I loved him and how I would miss him so much. I held his hand and I kissed him goodbye. Everything felt so unreal, I almost couldn't believe that it was my Grandpa laying in that bed. I then left and we all went home and to bed.

Then next morning I got up and headed downstairs. My Mom came out of her room and met my sister and I halfway. She then told us that my grandfather had passed away only a short while after I said goodbye. "He waited for you, Melis" she told me, "You were the last one who needed to say goodbye." She told us to get ready, that we needed to go and meet the rest of the family. I was in shock and didn't start crying. I went upstairs and got in the shower. That was where everything hit me and I starting sobbing uncontrollably.

We went to the wake that next day and afterwards we all went to my Grandmothers house. All the men started playing cards. I had decided to play, for the first time. I sat in a couple rounds and afterwards I left to find my sister and my cousin Katie, who was the same age as us. All my cousins were in Grandpa's bedroom. They were sorting through some of his stuff and were taking mementos to bring home with them. After looking a little I realized that everything was gone, there was nothing special left for me. I felt disappointed and cheated. Why hadn't they called me in there to go through it with them? I began walking aimlessly around the house trying to find something I could take home with me. I headed for the basement.

My Grandpa and my Uncle had furnished the basement years ago for my Uncle and his family to live in. There was a room for my Grandfathers workshop, a living room, Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom and Babyroom. The living room and bedroom was still full of some old furniture of my Uncles, but besides that and my Grandfather's workshop, everything was empty. I stood at the bottom of the stairs and said to myself "Please Grandpa, give me something to remember you by." I almost laughed at myself, thinking that he would never answer me.

At that moment I felt this strong feeling and I looked toward the empty babyroom. I started to walk towards it, laughing at myself and thinking I was crazy. I knew it was empty. I walked through the door and turned. Just to the left of the door, hanging on the wall was a beautiful picture of an American Indian woman. I gasped. It was the only thing in the room. For some reason I knew it was my Grandfather's, even though I don't remember ever seeing the picture before. I grabbed it off the wall and ran upstairs and found my Mother. Excited I asked her who's picture that was. She looked at it and smiled. She said "That was your Grandpa's favorite picture. He thought she was so beautiful and swore she followed him with her eyes no matter where he was in the room." I ran to my Grandmother and asked her if I could have the picture. Of course she gave it to me. I felt like I left that house with the best gift of all because I knew he had given it specially to me. I still have that picture in my room today. When ever I look at it I think of Grandpa and I can't resist a smile.

Submitted by Melissa Hamilton, NC, USA