Dealing with Death

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It Can Only Get… Worse
I once considered visiting cemeteries a hobby. I tried to be optimistic every time I returned, thinking, “It can’t happen again”. That statement was proved wrong again, and again, and again. I felt as if I were in a dead world and there was no way out, no way to ignore the ominous truth that death was near and abundant. The life in my loving great grandparents’ soft grey-blue eyes was just slipping away slowly, and there was nothing I could do about it. My parents told me that things could only get better. I felt as if they had lied to me. “Things” did not get better; “things” got worse, much worse.

Always close at hand, my great grandparents lived next door to me my whole life. Both had soft, thinning, silver hair and smile lines around their mouths. They were always smiling. I had just turned 13 and felt invincible -- that is, until I was told that both Faye and Leland Ledbetter were slowly dying. Leland had pancreatic cancer and Faye was slowly losing her memory. The day I was told my Granddaddy had six months to live was the day that my world came to a screeching halt. I can remember going to sit on his lap, which had comforted me many times before. I felt as if I was a little girl again; I cried like one that day, too. I had always been a strong person, never showing my emotions, but after that day crying came easily and frequently. The tears weren’t just from sadness; they were tears of frustration and anger. I was angry… Angry at my parents for telling me things would get better. Angry at the doctors for just giving up. Angry at my God for not answering my endless prayers to spare my grandparents lives. I felt weak and helpless.

Granddaddy was always strong for us, never showing how sick he was. I will never forget the day I walked in unannounced and found him leaning over the toilet clenching his stomach in pain, tears abundant. He never knew I saw. What I had seen made me realize that I was losing the person I considered to...
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