13, September, 2017
“I have to go or i’ll miss the bus,” I say to my grandpa. “Okay good luck at your game,” he says, “I love you.” The last words my grandpa would ever say to me. As I left his home to catch the basketball bus. Saturday February 6, 2016. Waking up I got dressed in black sweat pants, and a pink t-shirt. Outside the sun was shining brighter than normal and the morning dew was glistening off the grass. The snow was melting leaving puddles of slush everywhere. It was one of the most beautiful mornings of the winter. After we were ready my family and I went to my Grandparents like we did every other Saturday since my grandpa was diagnosed with kidney cancer. This day is going to be great! I thought to myself. My cousins from all over Iowa were coming over to spend a day with grandpa. The whole family would be together. We arrived after a mere eight minute drive as my family laughs and jokes around like we always do in the car. We arrived into the normally crazy household of kids running and parents laughing. This time was different. The mood of my family shifted. My once enthusiastic grandma now worn out from the long nights up taking care of my grandpa; bags were formed under her eyes and her nose red and swollen from crying. At that moment I knew that day would be the day my grandpa will die. Nothing made sense. My grandpa was someone strong. His dark hands and so large they could fit around a softball
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The parents came out of Grandma’s room by one by one, bags under their eyes, makeup running down their face, and bright red noses. By that time, I could almost predict what happened. As my mom and dad approached us with their heads down, I prepared myself to hear exactly what I never wanted to hear. “The doctors are turning off the life support machine. She isn’t suffering anymore, and she will be looking over every one of you guys. She said she loves you all so much,” Mom told us while my dad didn’t hide his tears back.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”. I chose to shadow my grandfather because I do not know all that much about him. My grandpa has always seemed like a very interesting person but he does not open up easily. That is another reason i chose to shadow him. My grandpa is usually toiling with a black powder rifle or he is making his own guns or doing research on a weapon unknown to him.
My Great Grandpa was someone I always looked up to. He was someone I loved to spend time with. I always just thought he would be here forever, so I never even thought about never seeing him again. In my opinion my Great Grandpa’s death was a time I had act strong even though I wasn't. He was someone I talked to when I wasn't feeling myself. My Great Grandpa's death was one of the hardest experiences I've ever had to deal with.
The most impactful event I experienced, was the loss of my father. I lost my father as a result of homicide, but he had made choices that kept him from being in my life. As a child, I saw my father every month and I enjoyed it: I had two sisters, I could hang out with and play with our dolls. My father could be a loving and great person when he chose to be.
“MOM WHERE ARE WE GOING!!!” I said, feeling like I could burst at any moment it's a horrible thing to be car sick when you don't know what to do about it. “Don't worry dolly we will be there any second now” said Sharon, but I just know her as mom. “I think i'm dying!” I said, sinking into the back car seat. Mom didn't say anything as with my brother they just smiled. I wondered if they could see something I couldn't so I forced my body to sit up and unbuckle my seatbelt as my eyes lit up as if I saw an angel. It felt like everything was in slow motion. For months now I've been dying to go to Six Flags for one day and today was that day! “Do you feel better deer or should we go back home” mom said with an evil smile glancing at me through
It was a brisk and arid night in the town of Methuen. It was the night before Thanksgiving 2014 and my brother Chris and I were waiting outside for what seemed like forever for our uncle to come pick us up. For some strange reason I remember the exact time temperature was when he finally arrived. As we climbed into the back of his brand new Lexus I looked at the dashboard and it said it was 6:38 PM and it was a hawkish 25° F. My uncle, which I will refer to as “amo” which is the Lebanese Arabic term for uncle, said “Are you boys ready to make a change in people’s lives?” We responded simultaneously with a bewailing “yesssss”.
So about three years ago my aunt past away and my entire family attended the funeral. For those of you that know my immediate family (the Hairston clan) you know that nothing good could possibly come this happening. I'm going to tell a story that is 100% accurate with no exaggerations what so ever. This story will be long but well worth the time. It involves a black cowboy, an elderly Jamaican man, a borderline racist grandmother and three asshole brothers.
My father is profoundly wise in the topic of athletics. He knows more ways to get stronger, faster, or even more flexible than anyone I have ever encountered. Putting this knowledge with my determination, we made a rigorous workout plan that we would do at home every single night. One note to make, is that my dad was not forcing me to do these workouts in any way. He asked me if I still wanted soccer to be as exhilarating as it was when I was younger, then I needed to put the time in to my craft every day. Soccer is in my blood, and I was not ready to give it up yet. The workouts were composed of mile runs on the treadmill, medicine ball exercises, and leg strengthening drills. After the preliminary week of this aspiring effort to to achieve
Remembering seeing his dad for the last time, Jason flashed back to when he saw his dad's plane take off for Africa. Later that day Jason was watching the news with his mom when he saw that a plane had crashed just off the coast of Africa. Terrified Jason's mom called the airline company to see if that was the flight her husband and Jason's dad was on. With a mournful look on Jason's mom's face she told Jason the horrific news.
Have you ever wondered who these people are that keep you safe everyday? My dad was one of them. He was in the Michigan State Police for twenty-seven years. He has helped save the lives of many people.He started working in the MSP even before he met my mom. He eventually married her and was working nights.He worked everynight to protect us. You. Everyone. Every night, when you were asleep, he was out working. Working to protect you. When he had a kid, my brother Logan, he was still working nights. He had to move from place to place, taking his family with him so he could do his job. When something bad happened, he was there to protect you. Even when you wanted to hide in your house and not come out, he was there to protect you. My dad is an amazing person. This is why my dad is my Michigan Hero.
Grandpa was the first to notice. No one else suspected anything different about me; nothing seemed to separate me from the other kids my age. But grandpa knew, ever since I looked up into his reassuring eyes with that innocent smile, that I was special. I acted the same as the other kids, always playing and climbing without a care in the world. Only when I got bigger and grew older did I begin to realize myself. Grandpa and I didn’t even have to say a word; we shared a unique connection. Those eyes, piercing blue but overcome by a sense of comfort, could communicate far beyond words. They took me to a place where I felt like I could stay a kid forever, and never have to worry about a thing. We were outcasts, Grandpa and I, but nobody knew.
I have an abundance of grotesque, yet, barely visible memories of childhood. However, no breathtaking family trips, no unique family togetherness that taught a moral lesson, no abnormal holidays. We still ate family meals together, but most often the children and adults lived in different worlds. When I needed comforting or wanted the best of both worlds, I could turn to my Grandpa.
When we were together we were invincible, us against the world. I’d look up to him, not only because he was 6’4, but because he was my grandpa. I have clear memories of him picking me up from school, playing old school reggae music during our adventurous car rides. We’d always sing along to our favorites, sometimes turn the music up so loud the people in the cars next to us could hear it. When I would visit his apartment, the familiar smell of drywall and pennies would fill the air. It was my hideaway, my home away from home. My grandpa collected pennies in water jugs. He would say that one day they’d be worth more than just pennies. I loved it there, not only because he had a freezer filled with many flavors of ice cream to which he would often say to me “you can have all you can eat” but because it was our time to bond. For five years it was my mom, my dad, and my grandpa helping me to grow. Those are my favorite people, my role models. Being around my grandpa brought me such comfort and joy.