I'm sitting in room about to do my homework when I turn my iPod on, just like always. The first thing it goes to is the Shania Twain CD, Up. I was sitting there thinking about how I used to love that CD when I was little, that one, and all her other ones too. She was my favorite music artist at the time. I used to love listening to the song, Up, on plane flights. My family and I lived in Oklahoma while I was in second grade, but the summer before I went into third grade my mom heard the news. My grandpa was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After that my mom made the decision to move to the little town of Pierre Part where my grandparents were living at the time…
"Celine! Come eat dinner!" yelled my mawmaw. My mawmaw, pawpaw, mom, brother and I all lived in a three bedroom one bath house with no place to breath. It was my aunt's old house. It stood through hurricane Andrew and was the strongest little house you will ever see. You could find it by riding down a small gravel road to the side of her son's small grocery store, Templet's Grocery.
I walked to the kitchen and saw that my mom and grandma made spaghetti, salad, and broccoli, the usual. We were all serving our plates and waiting to eat while I watched my pawpaw serve his own. He was walking back to the table when something, depending on how you see it, really funny or really scary happened. His pants fell off. Now my pawpaw after having cancer had lost a tremendous amount of weight. So as a result of that, he was very skinny and his clothes were big. When that happened everyone just laughed, and he laughed with them. I was the only silent one at the table. The reason I couldn't force a single chuckle out of my throat is because at that moment, I was finally comprehending what was happening. My pawpaw was dying. How could anyone laugh at something like this when he only has a limited amount of time to live? He could barely go anywhere or do anything at this point. How could this happen to my grandpa? Why him? He was such a good person and something so horrible was happening to him and it was tearing my world apart. I was silent for the rest of dinner. After dinner my mom asked me what was wrong and I told her I didn't feel well. This wasn't a complete lie because after that I felt as though I was going to puke at any moment. I couldn't sleep that night either.
After that whole incident happened, my way of coping with the pain was to just stay out of the house, or at least the living room. The living room was where my grandpa would lie day in and day out. Never changing positions, the only time he would get up was to eat or use the bathroom. Well, like I said, I wanted out of the house. So after school every day I would play with my cousins outside, or at their house. They lived right by us. I was always with them, if I wasn't with them, I was at another friends house on the weekends. When I wasn't at either place I was at my uncle's store playing with my cat Runt or eating candy. When I had to stay home I was locked in my room with the music blasting or with my brother playing Nintendo 64. I was rarely in the living room or kitchen; I tried to avoid it as much as possible.
Eventually it became easy to bypass my grandpa. Say hi to him before and after school then get the heck out of there! I didn't talk to him much while he was sick. Especially when he got so weak he moved into his bed permanently. The whole thing was actually very short. Six months was all he had to live before he died. Six months, can you imagine that? Knowing that you have a certain amount of time to live and not being able to do all the things you want before you die. He never got to go fishing in Pierre Part where he grew up. He never got to hunt. He wasn't here to see the house he was building be completed. He was too sick.
As I look back I don't remember any conversations him and I had while he was sick. I remember things from when he was healthy and everyone was happy, but none from the time of him being sick. I wish I had talked to him more, really got to know him. If I wasn't so afraid of feeling something while he was sick then maybe I would have spent time with him. Why was I so naïve? Why was I holding back?
In the last month or two, like I said before, he was moved into his bed because he was too weak and in too much pain to stay in the living room. One day I came home from school and a priest was inside my house. What was he doing there? That's when it hit me, all over again! For the second time in a four month time span I understood what was happening in my life. The priest was coming to give him his last rights! My grandpa getting his last rights! WHY ME!? WHY NOW!? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS!? What was my grandma thinking? My mom? My aunts and uncles? My cousins? They must all be devastated! I couldn't be here anymore! After that I took off through the door and went inside the small playhouse in our yard that belonged to my cousins. I sat in there for what must have been at least 30 minutes when I saw the priest leave. That's when I decided it was time to go back inside. Once again, I was resorting to Brittney Spears' song Stronger.
Why did I not take the chance after that to talk to him? I don't know! What was wrong with me? Did I not care he was about to die and this might be the last chance to have a conversation with him. Whatever my problem was I didn't use the time I has to talk to him. On August 26, 2003 I said the last words I will ever say to Pawpaw again:
"Bye Pawpaw, I love you, see you later."
"Bye sweetie, love you too," was all he could choke out.
What I didn't know at that moment was that I wasn't going to see him later. I wasn't going to come home and say hey after school then run off to play. I wasn't going to look at his fragile, thin, sad face ever again.
I came home that day and right when I got off the bus my Aunt Bae was there to pick me and my brother up. Well my brother and I were both wondering what the heck she was doing there since my grandparents are always home. She told us we were going to Morgan City to pick up a few things and eat. I asked why we couldn't go home and she wouldn't answer me. I asked why Mawmaw didn't pick us up after school like always. I wanted to know if I could put my stuff in the house at least so I didn't have to bring it in the car. No was the only thing she said. I knew something was up, I just wasn't quite sure yet what that was yet. So we went to Morgan City and ate at Mc Donald's. The whole time we were there she had this fake smile on her face, almost like she was too happy. We finally got home two hours later and when I walked in the door my whole family was there. And my family is monstrous so that means something important was going down tonight. I don't know why but my mind was to blank to actually discern what was happening. I didn't actually have the thought, omigod my grandpa died! But I did know whatever happened was sad because you could tell people had been crying. After about what seemed like an eternity my mom got up and told my brother and me to follow her to the back room.
"What are all these people doing here?" I said questioningly.
"Celine, and Jacob, something bad happened today…" she replied.
"What?" said my brother.
This was it, the big news, the life changing words. I can hear them just like it was yesterday.
"Celine, Jacob, pawpaw died."
There it was, the words I knew were coming, I knew in my heart is what was really going on. I just couldn't bring my mind to think it, I couldn't make that happen. But there it was the words that forced the thought into my mind. It seemed like for a second I couldn't see anything around me but I was still looking at my brother. I saw him break down and cry, so did my mom. They were sobbing uncontrollably and I felt nothing. I didn't feel the push in my throat that kind of hurt when you are trying to keep the tears back. I was absolutely numb.
After about ten minutes we walked out of the back room, down the hall and back to the living room. I felt as though everyone was staring at me, they probably were. They were probably wondering why I wasn't crying like my mom and brother. They were wondering why my world wasn't falling apart. When in reality it was, just not on the outside. After I walked into that room I wasn't numb anymore. I felt like my insides were being crushed. I felt like a monster truck just rolled over my heart and now someone was stomping on it. And as though stomping on it weren't enough they sustained to pick it up tearing it shreds. And they never ceased to do so. I honestly don't remember what happened after that though. My mind just goes blank after that…