I was at my grandfather’s house when he died. Right there, in the same house, he died while I played. It seems heartless that I was outside playing in a car while he took his last breaths. I was young though, and didn’t understand death then.
I can’t recall my exact age but I know the time period it happened, so I had to be between 9 and 11 years old. We didn’t see my paternal grandfather regularly due to distance but I remember him fondly. I loved going to his house. It was full of adventure. There was a creepy basement that groaned and had mystery. The shed and garden out back were perfect for playing out the stories in my head. He ALWAYS had candy on his table. Oh, and he had a party-line phone that allowed me to hear strangers talk. I cannot tell you how many times I would giggle and make comments to the poor people trying to have a conversation. (It is no wonder that type of service is no longer available. I must have been annoying.) I think the biggest fact I remember about grandpa was that he taught me to make a decision. Whenever he would ask me if I wanted something (like food or to go somewhere), I had to say yes or no. If I dared to say, “I don’t care,” he would reply with “Well, I don’t care either.” And, after that, whatever he offered was gone and not offered again until a later visit.
I recall sitting in the car pretending I could drive, when my uncle climbed in to be my passenger. He told me grandpa had died. I kept driving because I didn’t understand completely. I knew everyone was acting weird though and it wasn’t good, but I could not understand that grandpa was no more…until I went into the house.
My mom was crying. Dad looked lost and scared. My uncle was walking me towards grandpa’s room. The air smelled stale and old. All his medicine covered the dresser. And there laid grandpa, not moving. I looked around and everyone was staring at me with such sad eyes. I think it was then that I realized I would no longer have a grandpa. I would no longer be able to sneak onto his party-line phone and take candy from his dish. I would not have anyone forcing me make decisions, making me speak up for what I wanted. He was gone and all I could do was stand there and accept it.
~~~ In response to the daily prompt of Finite Creatures. “At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?”