He was a strong, brave individual and not once did he complain during his struggle. In my eyes, he was Superman; nothing seemed to affect him and he never ceased to amaze me. He never cared what people thought of him, giving him instant power over everyone else that went out of their way to criticize. I admired him and loved him greatly for everything he did.
I can remember the day as if it happened merely hours ago. It was January fourteenth, 2006; it was mildly warm and rainy for a winter night. He was so peaceful with his eyes closed; the process was slow. I sat there, next to him in his bed, contemplating, hoping it was a nightmare. The room was quiet, apart from the Duke Ellington and John Coltrane songs creeping in from the kitchen fused with the quiet sobs of those around me. Although the room was full, it felt as if I were in there alone, just him and I.
He didn’t seem to be in pain anymore; the cancer had taken its toll on his weak body. There was a smile on his face; his skin was radiant and youthful.
He was the comic relief, even though it was always unintentional, it’s just the way he was. Lying there, he tried to make the best out of this worst possible situation. He drew in a deep breath and held it for as long as he could. Everyone stopped. Then, letting out a meager gasp for air, he smiled, showing his gritty teeth. By far, it was the worst prank he had ever pulled.
He waited to pass, seeking to be with the people he loved. I believe he wanted closure. His last breath was short and soft, his body limp and cold. I knew he was free, away from the hurt and onto the next life.
As I sat there next to him, with his wool blanket in my hands, listening to the then pouring rain on that January night, I was distraught with fury and heartache. I remember asking myself, “Why him? What did he do to deserve this?” My questions will never be answered. Sitting here, struggling to fight back tears, I realize these wounds will never heal, they will always sting as much as they did that day and it will always be apart of me. He was a friend, a father, a husband, an exceptional person and most importantly, my grandpa, James Albright.
As I begin the transition into the next chapter of my life, I will remember him and his struggles when things seem too difficult, too hectic, or too meaningless. He has taught me the value of life and the importance of achieving your aspirations. My educational future will challenge and push me, but I will never succumb; I have much to live for, just as my grandpa would have wanted.
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