It was New Years Day, officially my 16th birthday. The sparkling confetti and colorful streamers were still perfectly in place from the party the night before. It should have been one of the happiest moments in my life, I was finally sixteen years old and I was going to the Department of Motor Vehicles in the morning. However it was not one of the happiest moments of life. Instead time had stopped in my house. I lay in my bed wide awake, reflecting. I looked at the neon clock that illuminated my bedroom; it read 5:15 a.m. I awaited the next phone call with trepidation. Would they tell me he was gone? I grew depressed as I thought of my life without him, his sweet smile and I remembered the way he always pinched my cheeks.
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My grandfather was the patriarch of our family; he gained this title through respect, not fear. He was the kindest man I’ve ever known and my role model. He was forced out of his own country, when he was just a teenager because he was Jewish. Instead of questioning humanity, he always saw the good in people. My Poppy, as we called him, was my biggest fan. He always told me no goal was out of reach.
Soon after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease I noticed deterioration in his health. Walks to the park once for my benefit, were now for his. I knew this time with him was crucial and one day he wouldn’t recognize me. The memories I have of him will always be close to my heart – from his gentle manner to his unlimited patience. I, as a curious child, constantly asked pointless questions, but to him no question was pointless and he was always patient in explaining things to me. My grandfather was always trying to enrich my education, teaching me how to read. Religion was also very important to him, as he taught me how to read Hebrew.
On January 3, 2006, My Poppy passed away with my parents by his side. When I heard of the news, I felt angry as if I had been cheated. My parents had promised me that he was better the last time they saw him and getting stronger. It wasn’t until later that I realized they were protecting me rather than lying to me. I became a different person, I fought with the people I loved the most, my attitude toward school had changed and I didn’t respect anything, including myself. My memories of him were sparked when my parents were finally ready to go through his belongings. I realized he would be disappointed with the lifestyle I was leading. It was then and there that I decided I wanted to be the person I was before. Although He has since passed, my grandfather will always be with me. His dream that I work to my potential and become successful in whatever interests me will always live on.