Family is everything

When going into Freshman year, I was really doubtful about how the year is going to go. I hit the middle of November, that is when I was crushed. It was the week before Thanksgiving, I was ready for our annual Macsgiving! Macsgiving is a tradition where we would throw a big party with all of my dad side of the family’s friends at my grandpa’s house. It would be the 3rd year in a row and I was excited to see faces I haven’t seen a whole year! Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays as I get to talk to family friends and eat.  l helped my mom put cases of beer and soda into the basement to store until Thanksgiving day. I went upstairs and layed in bed, pulling up my school’s website to start my homework. The phone began to ring as I ignored the christmas ringtone until my mom picked up. “Kids! Get ready we’re going to the hospital to see your grandpa!” My grandfather was in the hospital for at least half a year and it was going to be the first time I’ll see him. I haven’t see him in forever which made me a bit happy and sad.

When we were in the car for awhile, I knew it wasn’t going to be typical Jefferson hospital that we usually always go to. A hospital appeared out of the side window that I wasn’t familiar with. My family and I walked into the ICU and turned through a few hallways to find my uncles and aunt in the room in front of us which of course was the room my grandpa was in. When I walked in it was unbelievable what I saw. My grandpa had so many tubes all around his body, his entire body was filled with fluid to the point where he looked swollen. Like he was stung by 100 wasps. I didn’t even recognize him anymore. From that short old wrinkly man that I loved being around, to the swollen man in the bed that I didn’t recognize.

To see my grandpa, I had to put on an entire suit, gloves, and hand sanitize my hands. I was very uncomfortable. It was so unreal just to see my grandpa that I haven’t seen in so long. What was the point of putting all this on? I’m just visiting, not doing an operation on him. I did those procedures and walked into the room. Just looking at him was going to make me fall to my knees and cry. Everyone was surrounded around him. I was standing in front where his feet was facing me. I touched and rubbed his leg. It was the first time I touched him in forever. It felt fat, like a sausage from a deli. I looked up to see him looking into my eyes. He had no expression. But I knew that he couldn’t make one either way. A flush of warmth flowed up fast through me and I began to have a burning sensation throughout my entire body. I rushed out of the room and I was gagging into a trashcan. I didn’t know if it was the clothes they made me wear that was making me hot and lightheaded, or the thought that I haven’t seen my grandpa in so long to where it hurts to just see him in the condition he was in. After I settled down for a few minutes, I walked back into the room and walked right beside him again. My family and really close friends came by to let him know we’re here for him. I knew what was happening but I kept it in the back of my head.

When I was still at home, my siblings and I were told that he was dying. From all the faces surrounding the room, I knew it was the moment where we we’re gonna let go. To lighten up the mood and the intense emotions in the room, my uncle said, “grandpa smile for grandkids” although it was in cantonese. He smiles showing all of his teeth as if the the dentist told him to open your mouth and bite down. I laughed and smile a bit and started tearing up a bit knowing that’ll be the last time I would ever see him smile. I watched as my aunt, uncles, and my dad stood by his side and held his hand. I walked out of the room with my mom, siblings, and family friends as we gave them their time to see their father for one last time. We walked down to right turns down the hallway right into the patient room. There was drinks and snacks on the table, yet I didn’t touch a single one even though my stomach was empty. I had a blank face for a good 10 minutes as if I was thinking about life in the shower. I couldn't believe it. Happy memories flashed through my head remembering all of the things I did for my grandfather when he needed me. I started over thinking and became angry at myself that I didn’t spend enough time with him when I always came over. I kept those thoughts inside and kept the blank face.

Ding! I looked up at the tv where Steve Harvey was hosting his tv show Family Feud. I watched it, yet I wasn’t paying attention as if it was playing on mute. I heard crying coming through the hallway and looked through the opened door to see my aunt on the ground sobbing. My aunts very close friend was right next to her, holding her hands trying to pull her back up. The only thing I could’ve think of is why. Why did it have to happen now. It was the week of thanksgiving and it was suppose to be the month of being with family and having thankfulness for each other. My heart was beating out of my chest as I kept watching my aunt sob a bucket of tears in the middle of the hallway. I didn’t know what to do as I turned away and look at my brother and sister. There was no expression on either of their faces. Not even my mom or our family friends. My eyes blurred as tears began to build up. It’s been a few minutes of sitting in silence after I hear one of my uncles talk to my aunt in the hallway. “He’s suffering! Just lying there having a machine breath for him. He can’t even talk anymore!” I hear my aunt try to respond, but the tears and sniffing was in full control. I didn’t turn my head out the door because I knew I would cry, unable to control myself. I slouched down into my chair and kept telling myself to stay strong. It’s okay…... be brave justin, grandpa is okay.

“Kids lets go. We’re going home now. “ My mom demanded that we’re going home. “Where’s dad?” My brother asked. “He’ll be home later.” We got up and walked down the hallway in silence. It was the first time I witnessed my entire dad’s side of the family so close and together. I watched as my aunt was still on the floor and my uncle trying to pick her up. My other uncle is facing the wall, leaning on it with his arm up and his head under his arm. My oldest uncle and my dad was still missing as they were still in the room of my grandpa. I turned back around as we exited the building, zipping up my jacket from the wind that tipped my to the right. The car ride was silent the entire time. When we got back home, it was 1 in the morning and I showered right away. The burning hot water hits my head and flows down my body as the entire bathroom begins to turn into a steam room. My mind was blank and I just stood there. When I got out, my dad came back home. My dad walks up the stairs to get ready to shower and we all come into his room and asks when is he going to heal. “He’s dead. We cut the tube, he was suffering. Its 1am, kids, go to sleep.” I walked into my room, slammed my face into my pillow, and cried myself to sleep.

I woke up the next day walking into school with my eyes forcing to shut on themselves. A few of my close friends know what’s up and they were there for me. I handed out a funeral paper to my teachers a few days later letting them know that I’ll miss school to attend my grandpa funeral. Having family and friends is what kept my head up and let me know that everything is okay. I was basically taught that friends and family will always be there for you and you should really cherish what they do for you. My grandpa will live on in me and I’ll always remember him.

Comments (5)

Cindy Chen (Student 2018)
Cindy Chen

I learned that Justin lost his grandpa and struggle through it but was still able to be strong. I like how it starts with the moment where Justin figure out that his family and him were going to see his grandpa.

Siani Davis (Student 2018)
Siani Davis

I like that you wrote about something so personal; a struggle you had in life. I like that you emphasized how it important it is to have a loving family in order to get through a tough time, because that is something that is relatable to many people.

Sarith Chuon (Student 2018)
Sarith Chuon

1.) I learned that you experienced something that many people would have trouble getting through, but you were able to stay strong and look forward. 2.) I like how descriptive it was. It was able to catch my eyes in the first couple of sentences, and I didn't want to stop reading. Good Job!