The night before my great grandmother died we said our last good-byes in hopes that she would rest in peace knowing that we loved her. I had known her for sixteen years, and in that sixteen years we had become extremely close. She was not only a grandmother to me but also a friend and a confidant. I feared the day that I would have to deal with the pain and the realization of losing her. Although I knew that day was coming, I didn’t want to let her go. She passed away almost four years ago, in February, but it still feels like yesterday that I was standing over her deathbed and telling her that I loved her for the last time. I am just now coming to grips with the pain and loss I feel when I think of her.
My family and I were sitting down at home for a Chinese take-out dinner, and we received a phone call. My mother answered the phone. It was a nurse calling from “Bell- View Nursing Home,” where my great grandmother was a resident. The nurse said to my mother, “ Bertha isn’t doing very well and she might not make it through the night. You and your family might want to come and say your “good-byes.” My mother’s tan face turned pale white, and tears began to fill her deep blue eyes. She looked as though someone had punched her in the gut, as along with the tears came a look of fear and sadness. After she got off the phone she was shaking like a naked child on a too cold night. Through great gasps of breath she filled the family in on what was going on, so we jumped in the van and sped to the nursing home. We wanted to be by her side. In silence we reached our destination, and I was extremely hesitant to go in because I knew what I had to face. I was afraid of death, of losing my grandmother.
When I found enough courage to at least enter the nursing home, I felt emptiness inside of me that I had never felt before. I was cold and the halls were dark, almost like I had entered a dungeon. As we were walking, my family and I passed the nurse’s station. I could tell that they recognized who we were because the heavy-set one with red hair curled in a bun atop her head began to cry, and one noodle-thin, brown-headed nurse even ran toward us and gave us hugs. Trying to fight back the tears, the noodle said to me sadly, “Your Nannaw loves you very much; every time she sees you she gets a twinkle in her eyes.” As we embraced I began to think about all the times that I was with my Nannaw and how much fun we had. I began to cry. Sobbing, I realized that time was passing by and that I had not yet seen my great grandma.
Not wanting to accept the fact that she was going to die, I reluctantly began to walk toward her room. My shoes made slight squeaking sounds, but all I could focus on were the rectangular square white ceiling tiles and the sadness in my heart. The hallway that led to her room was dark and dreary; it smelled slightly of urine. There was a slight draft, and I heard the other residents moaning for help. I was horrified—reliving that feeling I got the last time I was in a haunted house. It seemed like the hallway had gotten so much longer since the last time I had walked down it.
As I approached the thick, brown wood door, there was a blue and white nametag on it (about the size of a Pop Tart) that said “Bertha Clingman” in large, black block letters. I was not ready to go in. However, it was time to face the music; the moment in me life that I never wanted to happen was right before me. I chose to stay outside and get my composure. I watched my doddling, bespeckeled father and white-haired uncle timidly go in and say their good byes, and both come out with tears streaming down their faces. “Is she talking?” I asked. “Not a word,” cried my dad, his stern, olive face now broken red with sadness. It was my turn; the thought of not even going in crossed my mind, but I knew I would regret it. Hesitantly I took one step into her room, and I saw one of my most favorite people in the world laying in the bed on the left. She just lay there with here eyes softly closed, almost blue in pallor. I smiled at her, and she did not respond; at that time a sense of loneliness overcame my body. Her complexion was transparent, her body skinny and fragile and her light pink mouth was gapping open. I walked closer to the bed and she began to breathe heavier and heavier. She could sense my presence. I reached for her hand, and it was ice cold.
It was difficult for me to see her like that. There was so much that I wanted to say, but the words caught on the lump in my throat. Forcing them, I spoke loudly in hopes that she would answer, “Hi, Nannaw; it’s me Heather. We just came to see you, and it looks like you’re not doing very well. I brought you your favorite drink, Coca Cola.” No words came from her mouth, not even a whisper. But she gave my hand a squeeze. I leaned over the rail on the bed and gave her a hug. I pushed back her spider-web-like hair with my mouth and whispered to her “When you leave you will be taking a big piece of my heart, but you will be leaving an even bigger piece of yours.” Having not said one word all night, she looked up at me and whispered loudly, “Heather, I love you so much,” as a tear trickled down her face from her right eye. Then she returned to her comatose state. I wiped the tear off of her face and said, “I love you.”
Even though that was one of the worst feelings that I ever had, it was also a relief to know that she loved me. That night left me empty and sad, but when I woke up the next morning, I knew that she had passed, and I was okay with it because I knew that she was in a better place. Even though Nannaw is gone and it has almost been four years since her death, it is still hard to fathom the idea that she is no longer physically in my life. I miss her, but I know that she loves me because of her last words. She still lives on within me.
"American Childhood"by Anne Dillard is a good example of using chronological organization. In this story, Dillard tells a memory from her childhood one winter morning when she was 7 years old and got in trouble for throwing snowballs at cars, being chased down an ally by an adult.
Introduction: Dillard uses a frame story to explain the other characters, setting and scene. She explains that at 7, she was used to playing sports with boys and that taught her how to fling herself at something. She then finishes the introduction by telling the reader "I got in trouble throwing snowballs, and have seldom been happier since".
Body: In the body of the paper, Dillard tells the story chronologically, in the order that it happened:
- Waiting on the street with the boys in the snow.
- Watching the cars.
- Making iceballs.
- Throwing the iceball and having it hit the windshield of a car, breaking it.
- The car pulling over and stopping.
- A man getting out of the car and chasing them.
- The kids running for their lives.
- The man chasing her and Mikey around the neighborhood, block after block.
- The pounding and the straining of the chase.
- The man catching them when they could not get away.
- The man's frustration and "You stupid kids" speech.
Conclusion: Dillard returns to the idea that this was her supreme moment of happiness and says if the driver would have cut off their heads, she would have "died happy because nothing has required so much of me since as being chased all over Pittsburg in the middle of winter--running terrified, exhausted--by this sainted, skinny, furious redheaded man who wished to have a word with us." She ends the piece with an ironic comment "I don't know how he found his way back to his car."