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A grandfather’s love lasts forever

Photo+courtesy+of+Eden+Jones
Photo courtesy of Eden Jones

Photo courtesy of Eden Jones

Photo courtesy of Eden Jones

Eden Jones, Staff Writer

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Sunlight poured through the window illuminating everything in my room, and bringing me back to the real world. My eyes fluttered open to the black, oval alarm clock with red numbers, sitting on a wooden bar stool drained of color. Behind it, my yellow orange walls contrast with a small red apron trimmed with navy blue, the middle containing a Lowe’s logo. An accessory to those who glance at it, but it is the connection between my grandfather and me.

My grandfather was an amazing man, he stood at 5’11’’ and smiled in a way that appeared to some as a frown. He always wore dark jeans with a belt and a gingham checkered burgundy type shirt.

In the chest pocket, he carried pens, and tootsie pops. When he saw us he gave us one, it was his silent way of saying, ​“I love you”.​ He also carried around smarties reserved for his old military friends he met up with every once and awhile. They always chatted about what they wish they accomplished on duty.

As a little girl, I went to Lowe’s on Saturdays with my grandfather. He always put my apron on me and grabbed a tool kit located inside of a sky blue bucket that only the adults could reach. Inside the red canvas tool kit sat a hammer, some nails, some goggles and a piece of sandpaper. He took some wood from the instructor, and laid it on the makeshift plywood table, organizing the wood by size. He held a short nail on the biggest piece of wood with his left hand, and used his right hand to give me the hammer, at the same time telling me, ​in depth, ​how to use it. When he let go of my six year old hands I released the hammer…

BANG!

The hammer bounced off his thumb and onto the plywood table. I looked up at him, scanning his face for a look of “That was great! Keep it up.” Instead, his face was soft, almost no emotion given. Looking down at me slowly, with tenderness, he smiled. Without words he moved his hand onto mine, moving my hand with the hammer. He continued to hold the nail with his left hand, and when I brought down the hammer again, this time guided by my grandfather’s hand. I was happy because I hit the nail.

Slowly but surely the wood panels came together to reveal a pale, wooden bird house. A sense of joy came over me as we held the birdhouse together triumphantly in the air, our reward after a “hard” day’s work.

Every morning I see that apron, a strong reminder of the relationship with the man I adored, but now it just holds my paintbrushes and my acrylic paint tubes.

Pulling my hot pink bedspread off of me, I swing my legs off the bed. I hop down, walking past the apron over to my 5’ long cream dresser right beside it. Grabbing some clothes out of the top drawer of my dresser, I move slowly to the bathroom, despite the time.

The day my grandfather died- the day I died. April 16, 2012. I always thought he wanted to go… you could see it in his eyes a month before he passed. He recovered from his kidney surgery when I last saw him, but I noticed, something was different.

He continued his “routine.” Showing people he loved them, by handing out smarties and tootsie pops, but he approached it differently, he looked as if he wasn’t there, as if he just floated out of his body and left a shell. A shell to perform his day-to-day tasks.
It wasn’t until he passed that we finally knew what happened.

“The line went up and down, normal for a man asleep while we do surgery. Until about halfway through…” the surgeon said.

All my suspicions confirmed, as I realized what that meant, at that single moment.

The hospital’s crisp white interior, with halls that led to countless rooms, blue tile floors and a smell of disinfectant filled the air. I was a little taller than the, ivory base, with a glass top, front desk, so I decided to casually lean on it as my family surrounded me. We talked to the surgeon who operated on my grandfather. He wore scrubs and a mask just below his chin, his eyes soft and patient as he talked to us. He told us the facts about the surgery, and that it was strange. I listened intently as he spoke, understanding what he meant when he said my grandfather flatlined. He assured us that his quick actions saved him, and soon after, the surgery ended. When he woke my grandfather, the surgeon noticed that something changed, but the surgeon said it was an effect of the medicine, and that it wears off. But when he got home he still acted like he did in the hospital.

He said nothing. He was very quiet for the last four weeks of his life, and that’s when I knew.

My grandfather saw Heaven.

I walked through school, my head low and arms hanging off of my flowered backpack straps. I walked, reading the room numbers as they went down, and back up. The blue and green checkered floor tiles lined my path to my next class, and the white fluorescent lights lit up the entire hall. I continued walking, passing rooms that seemed unfamiliar. As the environment around me changed, I started to change. I grew more aware of my surroundings, but I was depressed, knowing the grief and loss would soon return.

As I continued walking, I came across a clear door, with small metal door knobs. Pushing the door open and throwing my bag on the ground, I realized I was not worrying about him, I was worrying about me. I hadn’t wanted to live without him, and that was my problem. I needed to give this worry to someone higher than me, so I got on my knees on the course, black and blue

welcome rug and prayed. “Lord, I know you are listening, so I give you all my worries. Thank you for taking care of me. Amen.” A simple prayer, but it provided instant relief.

And now, as I walk out the door of my bedroom and look up at the new triangle shaped box that encases every red, white and blue dream my grandfather ever dreamt, I shed a tear, knowing he is still with me.

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A grandfather’s love lasts forever