Danielle Winner - Grade 8, Brookville Intermediate School
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” (Ronald Reagan) One of the greatest conflicts to deal with is loss. I once thought loss was something I would never experience. I thought it was something that would never touch me. When my grandpa became ill, it never crossed my mind that he would die. Death is hard for a nine-year-old to grasp. Maybe my family shielded that information from me or I just refused to believe it was true.
When I got to visit him in the hospital I wanted to cry. I will never forget when my grandpa whispered to my uncle “get me out of here, take me home.” A lump grew larger in my throat as I swallowed back tears. My sweet, innocent grandpa experiencing pain made my heart drop. But I placed a smile on my face. I listened to my family pretend everything was ok when I knew it wasn’t. I drew a picture of my family surrounding my grandpa. When I gave it to him, I explained that when he got out of the hospital, this is what we would look like. Every face I drew had a smile on it. When my grandma's face was filled with tears I hugged her and smiled. When I gave my grandpa a kiss, I didn’t think it would be a kiss goodbye. I tried my best to be a light in the darkness. I made my family laugh and smile. I knew my grandpa would want me to.
Attitude is powerful. It would have been easy to sulk around and try to forget. That’s the worst thing I could have done. Instead, I tried to remember the good times. The times when I would curl up on his lap and eat sour gummy worms. Sometimes I get worried that I will forget him, so I close my eyes and think real hard about a memory we shared. I would like to believe my attitude affected my family in a positive way. The poems and pictures I made about him were all to keep his memory alive and to show everyone that the best way to grieve is to remember the good times. I try to live my life the way my grandpa did. I go through my day with a positive attitude. When I have a bad day I remember that tomorrow will be better. I believe that everything happens for a reason. When my dad and I sat in our backyard and he explained that my grandpa might not make it I was confused on why God would do this to us. Now I understand that maybe the point of experiencing loss at a young age was to teach me to look at life in a positive way. In the future I know life won’t be easy. But I know that hard work, positivity, and my grandpa’s spirit will keep me going.