As a freshman in high school I was really excited to start off on a new foot. I joined the marching band as a way to experience something different. In December, we went and marched in the Gatlinburg Christmas parade.
We left Friday, December 3 and stayed until Sunday, December 5. It was a beautiful winter day. My friends and I were having a wonderful time! We all had just walked into one of the malls when my mom’s cell phone rang.
All I had to hear was ‘What happened?’ and ‘Is he okay?’ to realize that something terrible had happened to my grandfather. I immediately asked her what was going on. She shooed me out of the store we were in.
I walked over to our group with tears in my eyes and the heaviest of hearts. There, in the middle of that mall in front of hundreds of strangers, my friend’s grandmother gathered our group in a circle and had us pray even though we still did not know what was going on. When my mom came out of the store I ran to her and found out that my grandpa had a stroke (later we found out it was a heart attack) and was in the hospital. We walked back to the buses, our fun was over.
I was sore and tired. I put on a good mask for everyone and pretended I was alright while my insides charred. We arrived back at the school around eleven or so and proceeded to go home to unpack, repack, and start our trip to Georgia.
We got there at about two or three in the morning. I didn’t sleep that night. The next few weeks were terribly difficult. I never failed to keep hope that God would make him better.
I recall sitting and begging God for one more day with him alive. He gave us more than one, I believe he gave us five. He died December 16, 2004.
His last words to me were ‘I love you’ and mine to him were ‘I love you and I will see you tomorrow.’ I never did, but what I keep with me from that trip is that a woman I had met a few days before was willing to stand in a circle in the middle of a mall full of strangers to ask God to help me. I truly learned kindness and how to put my faith in God. He healed my Grandpa’s pains for all time and for that he is the best! I will always remember that day when a little bit of God’s kindness coming out in a person taught me a lot about life.
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