• All I wanted to do was apologize because I knew that I would never get another chance. I had said and done so many terrible things in the past 14 years that I wondered if it would even mean anything if I apologized at this point.
    My awfulness had come to an end after arguing over my bedroom, something very trivial but common all the same but this time it was different.
    See, I had spent Friday night and most all day Saturday at Revolve Tour, a christian girls conference in Portland. Both my sister and I got home really late and that's when the argument ensued. I guess that my room hadn't been clean, either enough or at all, and I was verbally reprimanded for it. Well, as usual back then, I retaliated by arguing and storming off to my room where I remained the rest of the night.
    Five minutes before I'm supposed to leave for church the next morning, I'm woken up by my youngest sister and not my grandmother. Confused and alarmed that my grandparents weren't home at eight o'clock on a Sunday morning, I hurriedly stumble out of bed and get dressed but when I reach the front living room, my dad is laying on the loveseat recliner cover by a blanket. All I get told is that Grandpa woke up at three o'clock in the morning and decided that he needed to go to the emergency room.
    I don't remember much about how I felt when I heard that he most likely wouldn't ever come home again. I do remember that I ordered my dad to call me if anything changed while I was at church, which he agreed he would do. My aunt picked me up and I don't remember what I was feeling at that point but I know I was close to tears, even though I was trying to be tough. During the ride, I wondered if Grandpa knew God. This was something he had never discussed and at this point, if he was so close to the end, I wanted to make sure that he was going to go to heaven. During Sunday school, we had our lesson and at the end, we prayed and I made a silent prayer that Grandpa would be saved, if he wasn't already because I didn't know for sure.
    After Sunday school, dad called me about Grandpa. He said that Grandpa was really sick and that he had been moved from the ER to the ICU West at Madigan Hospital at Ft. Lewis. After I hung up, I cried. I had always been so mean to him and now it seemed like I might not even get the chance see him again. After that, I'm not sure if I went home or if I stayed at church although I'm fairly sure that I stayed. At a time like this, church seemed to be the place to be because I felt God more there and I needed to know that everything was going to be alright, even if it wasn't.
    When I got home; Aleesha was gone, Blaire was sitting in front of the TV and my dad was still there. I was informed, upon inquiry, that when Grandma had come home from the hospital for a few things, she had taken Aleesha with her. I was still trying to act tough but I guess it got perceived that I didn't care, which wasn't the case at all. The day passed without much in eventfulness and that didn't change when my Grandma and sister returned home. I don't remember how well I slept that night, knowing that someone was missing from my close knit world.
    Monday morning came about and my dad came to pick me up for school, which I was grateful for because that meant that I could focus on something else for a few hours. I guess I was feeling fairly decent but I don't actually remember what happened that day. I do know that my dad dropped me off like he had everyday since I started high school and my boyfriend at the time greeted me like always but after that I don't remember anything until bowling practice after school.
    Bowling takes a lot of concentration but that night, I knew that my concentration was shot. School had kept me focus cause I had something else to occupy my thoughts like; what was for lunch, how I would do at bowling, if we were going to get fries at practice, among other things. At practice, it was supposed to me me focusing on the bowling and I just couldn't do it. I remember bowling the crappiest game ever but was bot relieved and scared to be going home.
    My dad picked me up at the school and on the way home, I asked if Grandpa might get to come home. I had been praying for a miracle all day and I guess I thought that my prayers may have been answered, which they were not. I was hurt but not surprised to hear that the doctors had put a limit on his time left to live. At that point, I remember thinking how I wanted something to happen but then how afraid I was to have anything happen. Home wasn't much different except for the fact that Grandma had taken Blaire out of school so she could say “good bye” because nobody was sure now if he would make it through the night.
    Again, I'm not sure how I slept that night but the next morning came all too quickly for what I wanted. I got dressed for school like usual and because the weather was dreary, like it knew something, I wore Grandmas' yellow long sleeved turtle neck shirt and my hooded vest. I had everything for ready for school but when I went out to the living room, I saw grandma on the phone. When she was done, she made another phone call. After that, she went in to wake up my sisters, who shouldn't have had to get up for a while.
    I don't remember if I ate breakfast or drank anything that morning because soon my sister were up, dad and Lisa showed up and Grandma called a family meeting. I do remember that I wanted to go to school because I was easier for me to deal with things when I didn't have to focus on things so closely. Grandma explained that the nurse at the hospital had called and said that Grandpa had had a really bad night, so Grandma had decided that she need to begin finalizing things. She was going to take Grandpa's ledger and have Grandpa explained it to her and dad so that they knew what was what with the money and such. She insisted that we all need to go, so we could possibly say our final good byes, which made me fight even harder to get to go to school. That was a fight that I lost because Grandma said that I hadn't been able to see him yet due to my activities and she wanted me to go and say what I had to say.
    So at about eight o'clock, we all piled into the van, which we don't have anymore. Dad drove up there but because I didn't have a state ID, Grandma wasn't sure if I would need a pass to get on the base. Luckily, the lady at the Visitor Center said that my school ID would work and that she would have to drive through the gate. So we had no problem getting through but when we got the hospital, all kind of feeling left.
    I'll say it right now that I have never minded the hospital and, previously, had never feared it but that day, my entire perspective changed. For one, I had never in my life been to the Madigan Tower and for another, I had never been to an ICU. In my mind, people who ended up in ICU; usually don't ever leave. They stay there until they die, which scared me and I had never been too fond of death or dying even though I knew that I was going to heaven, or at least I hoped so.
    The main lobby was nice but once we got upstairs, it became sterile and sickening. Grandma led us down the corridor to ICU West, which is where Grandpa had been since late Sunday. Grandma led us into the room and everything that I had ever know was totally false. There were machines all over the place with beeps, and other noises. The one machine the measures heart rate, blood pressure, and some thing else made me feel really small because it almost looked like a clock that would begin counting down any minute.
    Grandpa was laying on the hospital bed attached to all of the machines. He was wearing the blue hospital gown and was covered by a blanket but anybody could tell he looked so out of place. He shouldn't have had to be there but he was because his lungs were failing. As a result of that, he was wearing an oxygen mask that was making a very disturbing noise.
    I remember trying to act tough and solid but I couldn't and I started crying but I wasn't the only one. Dad was crying too and apologizing for his life mistakes and everyone else seemed to be just as sad. When it seemed like dad was done, I made my way over and began to beg for forgiveness for everything that I had ever done or said wrong in the past. Grandpa said that it didn't matter now and I tried to argue that it did but Grandma pulled me away. Before I moved away completely, I gave Grandpa a soft kiss on the cheek and a hug, now knowing that I most likely would never get that again.
    It was then that the world began to fall apart. After the doctor came in, a Chaplin came in and prayed with us and Grandpa asked him to be forgiven. Shortly after that, he began to fade in and out of consciousness, which resulted in him being drugged up on morphine. That's how he was for the rest of the afternoon.
    There's not much that I can say about the rest of the afternoon. We left a little while later to go get lunch at the PX and to walk around for a bit. I don't remember what I ate that day or what anybody else at because its too much of a blur now. When we were done at the PX, we headed back to Madigan and walked around by the pond outside for a while. For me, the walk by the pond was kinda reminiscent, because that's where we would go walk while Grandpa had a doctors appointments. After an hour or so of being gone, we headed back up to the room. Grandma and Dad went into the ICU while the rest of us sat in the waiting room. I don't remember how long I sat in that room but at about 2:20pm, Grandma decided that we were all going to go home and that she and dad would come back after they dropped us off.
    I remember being slightly relieved but sad all the same because I didn't really want to go home. Im not sure what transpired in heaven when we all loaded into the van and pulled out of the hospital parking lot. All I know was that we made it to the first red light and made an illegal u-turn. Everything began to be a race against time because it was the nurse at the ICU that had called.
    Blaire and I were the first ones out of the van and we raced across the parking lot into the lobby. We were forced to wait for the family at the elevators, but once the elevators stopped, nothing could stop us from racing down the corridor. We reached the ICU before anybody else and we were the first ones to see him, although I wish that I hadn't.
    There was no oxygen being forced into his lungs, no beeping of the heart rate machine, no nothing. I remember running into the room and running right back out into the main hallway. I was crying so hard that I almost forgot to breath. Aleesha never made it to the room, at least that I remember, but I do remember her standing in front of the ICU doors and she was shaking so bad that I had to pull her out of the way. After a few minutes, I went back into the room and saw my dad crying, which bothered me more than seeing a dead body. Everybody was crying but I left the room and went to the pay phone across the hall.
    I called collect and called my mom. I was crying when she answered and I told her what had happened. She cried to and she apologized to me for the loss but at that point, I was fairly numb. I dont think I felt or heard anything after that. I was in so much pain that it didnt matter anymore. As we were gathering up to go downstaires, to the office where they do the death certificate, my dad called my uncles. I know that he got through to Uncle Ed, who was really upset that he couldnt have been there but promised that he would come up for Thanksgiving at the end of the week. After that, dad called Uncle Dan, and although I dont remember what was said, Dan said that he would come up for the wake. When dad called Uncle Mike, Gina answered the phone but when Mike called back; Dad told him and Mike hung up on him.
    This all transpired before Thanksgiving of my junior year in high school. A little over a year later, I would walk across the stage at St. Marcus Pavilion and graduate as part of the Timberline High School Class of 2009. Everyone was there except for him and it hurt so bad to look up at the audience and know that I was missing the most important person. My sisters will have to share that fate and everyday, I think back to how terrible I had been and if there was anything that I could back and change, I would. Unfortunately, life comes with regrets and there's nothing you can do about them after they happen. All I want to say now, even though I'm not sure who will read this all the way through, is that I'M SORRY and I loved you a lot even if I wasn't able to show it.