Exactly five years ago from today, my Grandfather, my best friend in the world died.

Nothing especailly spectacular had occured in my life. Not until my Grandfather died. It created this emptiness, this void in my life, and that's where the split began and I started wondering what else in life was fucked up.

It was at that point I became a bitter, angry man.

That day was very hard for me. My Grandmother has called that morning and asked to talk with my mother. She told my mother my Grandfather had died early that morning, but for whatever reason, she chose not to tell me.

I went to school the whole day, and when it finally let out, I left school and wandered the parking lot looking for my father.
However, when we were leaving the parking lot, he headed in the exact opposite direction of our house.

I asked where we were going.
"Well, i don't know if any has told you, but your Grandfather died this morning. We're going over to your Grandmother's to visit with the family.

Shock. That's all I can really remember. Was this really happening? Granddad dead? I sat in utter silence as we went to my Grandmother's.

The next day at school, I abandoned all thought of concentration on school work, and adopted a apathetic behavior as I sat down in Driver's Education and wrote the following poem.

Ignorance is Bliss

My life was happy, full of glee
Nothing ever bothered me
Except a little annoying stress
Nothing that would make my life a mess
Happiness continued and life went by
Why be sad? Why cry?
A happy ending, no sad tale
Ultimate joy, never to fail

The stress started to weigh down more
On my muscles that are so sore
The weather got colder, the wind did blow
Tolerance started to get rather low
Love was gone, and happiness dead
I stopped listening to what people said
Don't be surprised or gasp, I've be here before
It's not the first time, second, or even the fourth
Life would gloom here but get better
Instead the snow got thicker, the weather wetter
My great-grandmother died, an event so rare
But the world went on and no one cared
And thieves and murderer's and people that lie
Why couldn't it have been one of them that died?
But a week or two, I was almost well
My life regained hope, and you could tell
But not me, my friends or even you
Could stop this, my grandfather, he died too
At first I was mute, then nothing at all
No gasp, no pain, not even a fall
But my grandfather, my dearest of kin,
The absence of him finally set in

A shock of fear flashed right through me
A powerful feeling that you couldn't see
My body cringed, I shuddered and sighed
My resistance broke down and I started to cry
As I sat there with questions, confusion, and why
A river of tears poured from my eyes
My body experienced shock like a hit
Grief, misery, pain infinite

My friend was gone, what should I do?
Maybe it even should happen to you
Losing my grandfather, I ask why?
Why was he the one to die?
My life will go on the same old game
But it will never be the same
Now he's gone, Does that mean anything to you?
I've got one less friend to talk to
Life's challenges just got steeper
As my pain and misery just gets deeper

You see me sad,
You see me cry,
You sit and ask, you wonder why
You won't understand, you never do,
You will when you lose someone close to you.

Ever since then the floodgate has been opened and I now write poetry quite regularly. Around that time of my life, most of the poems were just centered on all the anger and frustration I felt toward the whole world.
Meaning most of them read like a stereotypical angst filled teens diary. Death, rage, and a morbid humor runs rampant throughout them.

Christopher’s Chair

Christopher died when I was 11 years old. It isn’t easy to explain how I felt, I mean, how do you describe pain, fear, relief and friendship if you don’t even know what the word ‘bereavement’ means.

We had been aware of Christopher’s looming death for years. He had been born with some strange disease or disorder; I can’t recall the name of it. Most poor bastards diagnosed with what ever it was rarely live beyond 6 or 7 years, so it’s kind of a miracle that he lived for as long as he did. He didn’t just get by, Christopher, he really lived, more than most of us ever do and we have the benefit of 60 extra years, give or take.

Christopher, towards the end of his days, lost the use of his legs and of one of his arms, so he had to be pushed around in a wheelchair. His parents got him one, a huge brute of a thing, all shiny black metal and silver spokes. He looked like a king sitting in a throne that had been built for a giant, not for a skinny 10 year old.

Someone smarter than me once said that the really important things that you have to know, the things that you really have to learn can’t be taught in a classroom. This10 year old boy taught me more about life than any teacher or professor ever could.

I can remember the day before he died. I took him out for a spin around the park to feed the ducks, like we always used to do on Wednesdays after I came home from school. He was quiet, sitting in his chair and just watching the world as he rolled on past it. “Chris,” I said, “don’t you ever get mad?” “Get mad about what?” he smiled up at me, leaning back so far that it looked like a frown. “Get mad about dying I mean.” I said back. I suppose to a grown-up, it would have been a stupid question to ask, but to a kid, it seemed sensible enough. “No.” He shook his head and looked away from me, over the grass towards the lake. He waved me in the general direction of the water, ‘ducks need their bread or else they get sick’ he always said ‘it’s like vitamins’.

“Why don’t you get mad?” He was tearing off chunks of soft white bread and trying to pelt the nearest ducks with it. “Why should I bother with getting mad, getting mad makes me tired. And I’d rather feed the ducks.”

He died in his sleep that night. His mother found him in the morning, sitting in his chair looking out the window, smiling. The doctor didn’t understand it, he kept saying that Chris was in a lot of pain and shouldn’t have been able to pull himself out of bed let alone into the wheelchair. He died like he lived, happy.

Years later, I asked his father if I could have his wheelchair. He didn’t say anything; he just went into the attic and fetched it for me. As he lifted it into the trunk of my car, he began to cry. Quietly, silent tears rolled down his cheeks. He turned to me to shake my hand. The shake turned into a hug and I couldn’t help it, I started to blubber like a little girl.

After a bit, he took a step back, looked at me and said, “He was a good kid Mikey, he was a good kid.”

Yes Mr. Barrett, he was.

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