My youngest daughter, Lorelei wrote a personal narrative for her sophomore English class. The assignment was to write about a point in time in which your life changed in any way. She chose to write about the moment she learned of her grandfather's suicide. It was a very personal story for her to write but she gave me permission to share it here on her behalf.
I would tune in and listen intently for that silver Tundra to pull into the garage and the strong framed man maneuver around his Harley on his way in. The creaks of the 1930's house got closer and closer until finally, my grandpa, beer belly and all, was home. I could never help but laugh seeing him with his full gray beard, looking like a mountain man, knowing he was a good looking boy in his prime. But that was years ago. The years when it wasn't so bad to have a stash of jack in the cabinet and a little vodka tucked away in the freezer, and they were long gone.
I'll forever remember the little things about him. How he always sat in the same place at the little round dinner table. How he wanted just one slice of lime in his coke. How he breathed through his nose when he contemplated something. How we shared a love for Cheetos. I'll forever remember the rides he gave us on the back of his Kawasaki, so proud of his little grandchildren. My grandpa was the most brilliant man I knew. He knew things that others couldn't understand in a lifetime; little secrets between him and God. And the one thing I'll never understand is how someone so smart could do something so selfishly stupid.
I remember the day like I'm still living it. It was a Sunday. That weekend my church had held a retreat and my faith was stronger than ever. Rachel, Nathan (my youth pastor) and I sang an amazing trio that morning, and after church I was innocently content. I remember looking for my parents, as someone grabbed my hand and said “Lorelei, I need you to come with me.” in a voice like a doctor, who knew something the patient didn't. Seconds later I found myself amongst a crowd of people, throwing me glances of pity. They knew. I saw my mom. She was crying, relying simply on the wall to hold her up. I thought to myself “God, no. Don't do this.” as she told me “Ponka killed himself..”
I never knew. I never knew that my beloved grandpa wasn't who everyone let me think he was. I never knew that the joke was on me. Of course the bottles in the back of the fridge only really stayed in the back when I was there. How could I have been so naive?
That moment, the moment by the wall, was mine. At that moment I felt like the world was personally attacking me, but I wasn't going to let that take me down. I was stronger than that. That was the moment when my faith became my own. Just me and God. That day was the day that I decided that no matter what anyone tells me, no matter what makes up my genes, that won't define me. So what, it runs in my genes to be an alcoholic, so does depression, bi-polar disorder, cancer and heart attacks, but that doesn't stop me. My God is bigger. My God is stronger, and I'm along for the ride.
Posted on Tue, September 8, 2009
by Andrea Decker filed under