Alcohol Vs Family
Have you ever had the feeling that when something terrible happened in your life, that there was something that someone could have done to change it? Have you ever thought that someone you loved was being selfish with their life, while hurting everyone around them? If you agree with this then you know how I felt four years ago, but maybe not for the same reasons.
It was 4 years ago, roughly around late September early October, when I found out something that changed my life forever. I never knew or understood why my family chose to keep something as important as my grandpa being an alcoholic from me. Even though my family is pretty close and we don’t keep much from each other, maybe they wanted to protect me. I still get a little upset about the situation once in a while, but what I believe that upsets me the most was the thought of my grandpa knowing he had a problem but he still never received help. It made me wonder if he thought about how his actions affected his family. But if you were in my shoes how would you feel if your family knew, but never told you until your grandfather was basically dying a little everyday?
It was one day during the school year when I came home to find out that my grandpa had been put in the hospital. It was a shock to hear that he was in the hospital, but to know the reason why was overwhelming. That is the day I found out that my grandpa was an alcoholic. He was not in the hospital long, maybe a week. After the day I found out about my grandpa, I never really was able to look or think of my grandpa the same way again. I feel bad thinking about it now, but I can honestly say that through this whole thing I never hated him or ever loved him any less than before. I understood that something like this was difficult enough without having your be upset with you.
A month or so went by and things got worse. He started to fall more often, which caused bruises upon his aged, leathered skin. Then it was the day of my birthday, I was turning 15, when my grandpa arrived with black and blue spots covering around his eye and a few small bruises up and down his tanned forearm. That day I tried to not let the worried feeling in my stomach show on my face.
It was December, about 2 weeks before Christmas when my choir was getting ready for our Christmas choir program, I had a duet this year in one of the songs. A couple days later when my sister and I got home from school, we saw that our dad was home. My dad being home triggered something in my mind, because he was never home until a couple hours after I got home from school, so that was the first time that I knew something was wrong. My dad was on the phone when my sister and I walked through out the living room to meet him. I could hear the shakiness in his voice as he talked one the phone. He turned around and saw me and my sister watching him intently. That is when my sister started crying. I’m not sure if she knew the exact reason why she started crying, but I believe that something inside of her had an idea of what was happening, even if she did not truly know herself. “Daddy, what’s wrong?” my sister and I pleaded for him to answer us with desperation in our eyes and our voice.
It took him a second to answer us through the soft sobs he was trying to hide back before speaking. “Grandpa was having a hard time breathing and so grandma was heading to take him to the hospital. He passed away before they even got past the store at the end of their road. They called 911, but he still did not make it.”
It was not even half way through my dad telling me and my sister what had happened, when we started crying along with my him. My dad slowly reached into the pocket of his jeans to pull out four quarters. He handed both my sister and me two of them. “These were in your grandpa’s pocket when he passed. I thought you would want something to remind you of him.” My sister and I slowly took the semi-aged quarters into our shaky hands and gripped them tightly as we continued to cry. My sister and I cherished those quarters.
The viewing was the day of my high school choir's dress rehearsal for our concert. My parents and my grandma thought it would be a good idea for me to go to the rehearsal anyway and then leave early for the viewing. The viewing was crowded with people mourning and giving their sympathy toward our family. The smell of flowers seemed to hit you as soon as you walked into the funeral room.
The morning of the funeral, and the same day as the concert, the weather seemed to fit the mood of the grieving people. It was rainy and gloomy. The minister spoke loving words toward my grandpa as people continued to cry. Even though I was crying, I was happy. I was happy because at least I knew he was in a good place and that he would not able to drink anymore. At the end of the funeral my grandma gave all the grandkids a rose from the bouquet off of his casket that his closest friend had left. That rose means a lot to me, because it reminds me of him every time I see it.
I was not planning on going to the choir concert after the funeral, but my grandma told me that it would mean a lot to both her and my grandpa if I sang. So, I did. It was hard, but I really do believe that it’s something that my grandpa would really have wanted me to do. As I sang, I tried my best to hold back the sobs and the quivering in my voice as I sang about a sleigh ride through the snow. Thinking about my grandpa got me through the concert and seeing my grandma, my parents and my sister’s smiling faces in the audience. I love and miss him terribly. And for that, I am forever changed.