A Silent Adieu

***My parents sent this to me today. It’s an essay I wrote in high school about my grandfather and it was published in a local school publication. It brought me to tears. Check it out***

D.Tabor
AP English 11-per 8
11-11-99
Descriptive essay

Wars transpired in foreign countries, lonely persons walked the vacant streets beseeching nourishment and shelter, and the eleven o’clock news delivered a new tragedy every evening. However as a grown man lay in his humid, stale, hospital room, he knew that no pain or suffering could compare to what he was feeling.
It seemed that not a visitor had passed through his imprisoning room in years: he was facing his last few days of life alone. Memories streamed through his weary head as he reminisced about the family he longed to behold. What he would not do to receive a few more years just to witness his granddaughter’s wedding or his grandson’s first home run. But death was knocking at the cold steel door, and as much as he regretted it, he had to answer.
The loud voice on the television interrupted his thoughts for a moment. He quickly swiped a bead of sweat off his forehead that he had not noticed. His hair, which was as black as the wings of a crow with splashes of misty gray, was not dampened. His slanted forehead was covered with wrinkles that depicted wisdom and age. As he lay in bed with his internal thoughts, he felt his years of acquired knowledge all useless now: no amount of wisdom could change his destiny. Pale gray eyebrows above his eyes seemed to have slightly disappeared into his pasty, olive colored skin over the years. His gentle, old eyes, still full of life, reflected the endless color of ebony. The path of dancing tear, that had trickled and dried, was halted halfway, down his oily check. A pudgy nose protruded from his equally round face. With his rough tongue, he wet his silky, smooth, crimson colored lips. In years before, these lips had spoken so many words of love, joy, and wisdom, however, now, they stayed motionless and pierced. A coal colored mustache was beginning to form above his upper lip from days of not shaving. He smiled at the thought of kissing his wife and how the stubble would pinch her delicate face. Both eyes stared blankly at the television screen. Nothing seemed consequential anymore. His petite ears listened to the drowning sound of Bob Barker’s voice as he silently fell asleep.
His body was serene as it danced with every heartbeat. A flabby neck rested below his round face. A faint green hospital gown draped from his broad shoulders, which were rested gently on the soft mattress. He had massive, empowering arms that looked as though they had bore the weight of several young children over the years. Injuries and hours of hard labor also contributed to his arm’s old and tattered appearance. His stubby, brittle hands, that felt like sand paper and contained spots of peeling skin on his palm, were settled delicately on his round, “Frosty the Snowman” like belly. An amputated leg, which was the rounded tip of a candy cane, rested slightly on the right side of his body. On the left side of his body, a bruised leg with the toes amputated was elevated by a feathery pillow. Years of pointless smoking caused his now fatal injuries. If only he could have envisioned the future, he never would have lit that first cigarette at the terribly young age of nine. The bottom part of his body was embraced by a soft, off-white blanket with the words “St. Joseph’s Hospital” fading in the left corner. Warm and comfortable, he continued to sleep peacefully.
Suddenly he was a woken by a faint tap at the door. His granddaughter entered the room and quietly halted with her back pressed against the door. They both stared into each other’s eyes, but stayed silent. He quickly looked away as an overwhelming feeling of pain pinched up and down his worn out leg. He softly rubbed it with his hand and slowly looked back up at his awaiting granddaughter at the Room 212 entry. He desired to speak to her and tell her how much he missed her presence and cheerful laugh. He wanted to express to her his longing desire to be able to walk again or simply to play a game of catch with his vibrant, young grandson, however, his lips did not move. As they anticipated a break in the silence, a strong feeling of animosity overwhelmed him as he began to feel anger toward himself and family for the anguish he was made to endure. Questions arose in his mind about life, about death, about love. His head began to fill with trepidation’s of what death would poses: a sparkling heaven or a somber hell? He looked up at his granddaughter and glanced at the single tear that was dangling from her left eye. Suddenly his vision became blurry as he too began to cry. He realized that all of this thoughts had been stubborn up until now. Each tear that fell to his pillow became a symbol of every memory the two had shared. Instances of her as gorgeous, young child, such as holding her tiny body at birth, teaching her to swim, and laying her down for an afternoon nap, dripped from his tearful eyes. He formed his lips to say her name; however he stopped when he noticed her wiping her tears. He thought to himself how beautiful she was: an angel he thought, his angel. Finally, with the elegance of an angel, she blew him a kiss in the air and disappeared.
As quickly as his fear and pain had arisen, it vanished with the flowery scent of his granddaughter’s perfume. She had answered his questions on life, and love, and death by shedding a few simple tears of sorrow. She allowed him to realize that no matter where death carried him, he could still watch over his family just as she had so silently watched over him.
Death was not be be the end but merely the beginning of a wonderful adventure, and all of his pain would subside. His now weakened arms reached for the T-bar hanging from his bed and grasped it as he raised his old body to try to catch his granddaughter before she escaped. He wished to say goodbye, but, unfortunately, it was too late. He rested his weary body back down into bed and wiped the tears form his eyes. As he drifted off to sleep, he thought it extraordinary how the two had not exchanged a word, but so much was said. He pressed his hand to his heart as if to hold on to the moment, and to say a silent adieu.

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Published by

DanniWrites

I am a 32 year old teacher in Georgia, originally from Ohio (Go Buckeyes!). I am also a singer and I recently taught myself how to play guitar. For fun, I enjoy reading and lots of Netflix binges, which is my American right! I have also been known to cycle, run half marathons, and do just about whatever I set my mind to. A charming shepherd-mix dog named Kingsley lives with me and keeps me laughing at his antics at every turn. I am learning how to love the life I live with each passing day. Sometimes it's easy...other times, I write about it.

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