the last thanksgiving

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: January 12, 2018

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Submitted: January 12, 2018

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Nicholas Roy

12/7/17

English 3-4

 

The Last Thanksgiving

My story begins Sophomore year of high school 2016 the monday before Thanksgiving. My family and I were going down to Western Virginia to visit with my grandmother. We usually didn’t see her on Thanksgiving, other than through a video call or at least a phone call. This year was different because my grandmother was diagnosed with ALS the year before. ALS is a crippling disease that causes you to lose all of your motor functions and not to be able to do anything on your own anymore. You may be asking me “What is ALS?... I want to learn more.” Well ALS isn't some contagious disease it's actually something that you're born with. It is a hereditary disease so it actually runs in my family. ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or a motor neuron disease. The main effect of this disease is in your brain. It's the neurons and they affect the body, affecting the encoding of your memories, emotions, and your personality(13 most common symptoms of ALS simply healthy.today). Once ALS damages these neurons it is extremely painful. ALS changes who you are by crippling your motor skills and causing you to die slowly and very painfully. So we came down because she was in the late stages of ALS and we didn’t know if this was going to be the last time we saw her alive.

My dad had to rent a car so we could save on gas. It was a cherry red Nissan Altima with all wheel drive, power windows, and it even had heated seats, it was a spectacular rental for the week and it only took us six hours instead of eight to get to Western Virginia. My dad drove like a mad man speeding and crossing from lane to lane. Though the car was roomy per say it became very uncomfortable for the six hours we were stuck in the car. My little brother and I were trying to make the time go by faster by playing I spy, playing games on our phones, and just looking out the windows, just taking in all of the scenery and looking at all the different landmarks. It was really nice because we passed through New York and I've personally never seen roads so busy. They were full of cars and people it was an experience that I won't forget. Once we finally pulled up to grandmother’s house we started laughing because my grandma had the greenest grass out of all of her neighbors. When we pulled into the driveway we were greeted by my grandma’s husband, she was re-married four years before. He came and helped us gather all of our bags from the rental car. As we started towards the door we saw my grandma just standing there in tears holding herself up with her cherry red walker. She was wearing a pair of black sweat pants to match with her zebra print long-sleeve shirt along with her zebra print slippers to pull the whole outfit together. We dropped our bags and ran to hug and kiss her. It was really hard for her to speak and to understand anything she said. All of her words sounded muffled like the Family Guy skit with the british guy that had a HUGE underbite and you couldn’t really understand him. Even though it was difficult to understand what she was saying it was worth spending every second that I was able to with her. She was so happy that we were finally there to be there with her.

As soon as we walked through the door she asked how we all have been, that she misses, and loves us very much. We were very patient with her because we knew just how much energy that all of her questions were taking out of her. Soon after asking all of her questions she had to rest to regain the energy that she used up greeting us. I helped her into dirt brown Lazy Boy chair that she sat back in and napped. She was cold so i helped her by getting her favorite blanket and covered her with it. This blanket was zebra print as well and it was nice and soft because it was flise. She had a ton of different zebra print things because she loved zebras, they were her favorite animal. Then while she was napping we were shown to our guest rooms and began to unpack.

Later on in the day when my grandmother had woken up from her nap we ate some dinner. We had steak and spinach, my grandma’s favorite. She was struggling to eat with her fork on her own so she through her face into the food. She was eating like an animal that hadn’t eaten in days, i had to stop her so i stopped eating and i told her “here let me help you”. I grabbed a napkin and wiped her face face clean she had greece and oil all over her and then i began to feed her. The noises that she was making made me uncontrollably start to laugh because she was really enjoying herself. She kept moaning and groaning, then she began to drool. I took the napkin and wiped the drool off and was taking care of her. This then reminded me of all the stories she would tell me of how she would feed me and change my diapers. It’s ironic how when you’re young you need to be taken care of but then the cycle happens again when you become old and sick and can’t take care of yourself again in life. Luckily I didn’t have to change her diapers but i would have if i really had to because of everything that she did for me.

 

The next few days were the same and I could tell she was getting weaker. It was now Thanksgiving and while everyone cooked I took care of my grandmother. We were watching the football game the Redskins were playing and we were talking and laughing. She kept falling asleep because of how weak she was. Once Thanksgiving dinner was done she woke up and was so excited to eat it was like she was hit with a burst of energy. When we got to the table we all went around the table saying what we were thankful for. Afterwords my Grandma began to cry  because she knew that we had to head back home friday morning. So I wiped her tears and told her it’s okay we love you and let’s just live for the moment. Then I fixed up a plate for her and began to feed her. My dad who was sitting across the table said “Nick it’s okay you can eat”. I responded with “It’s okay I can wait until she’s full”. Which I did because that’s what Thanksgiving is about; giving, but I couldn’t give her enough for the sixteen years she gave to me.

The next morning we had to go back home, we had to leave her. Leaving was the hardest part of this Thanksgiving vacation visit to my grandmother. Little did I know that this was going to be the last time that I would be able to see my grandmother alive. After three months had past my dad went back down to visit with my grandmother because she was going to pass away in a matter of days. He only stayed three days. The night that he came home he got a call at 3:03 am in the morning saying that my grandma had passed away. I remember the exact time because my step mom who is like a real mother to me and my dad were crying. I asked “what’s going on?...what happened?” they looked at me with tears of agony in their eyes and then told me that she had just died. I just stood there and felt this great pain of sorrow and agony, I’ve never felt this kind of pain before, it was like I was just hit by a truck or one inch punched by Bruce Lee. i couldn’t control the emotions that were flowing through my body, I just burst into tears. I dropped to my knees and was curled into a ball in my living room where i was informed of the awful news that I just under took. Two weeks after this news we flew out to Virginia to attend the funeral. We stayed in a hotel with my aunt and uncle. It was a Hilton hotel with a gym and a heated pool. The hardest part of this trip was the reason why we were there to attend the wake and funeral because once I gazed upon my grandmother in a coffin I just broke down. My emotions got the best of me and the tears just ran down my face like the pouring rain on a window. The funeral was no better because I was one of the men who carried her in the coffin to put her in the hearse. It was an honor carrying her and I'm not a very emotional person but the pain and emptiness I felt was too great for me to just hold it all in like I usually do. I know that I shouldn't hold everything in but that's how I get by and after the funeral I got closure. This experience showed me how to enjoy life, the little things that it brings to you. That life doesn’t owe you anything and to not take what you have for granted because one day you might not have it in your life anymore.

 

 


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