Chapter 2 - Death Sentence
I was around nine years old when my grandma was given a death sentence. It seemed like they gave them out a lot more back then, but maybe it was just because I was a kid and it seemed like a lot of people were dying around me. I wasn’t really sure what a “death sentence” meant at that time in my life, but it sure didn’t sound good to a nine year old kid. She had breast cancer a few years before, but the doctors felt they had gotten rid of it all and I remember having cake and ice cream celebrating her clean bill of health. They were of course wrong as doctors are a lot. Like they say, “it’s the practice of medicine.”
The cancer had returned and unfortunately spread throughout her brain. At some point, grandma was sent home to die. This was in 1979 and I suppose medical treatment to ease pain wasn’t as good as it is today or maybe it still sucks. Whatever the case, all I knew was the fact we started traveling to see my grandparents every weekend and every weekend was worse than the weekend before. I went from loving to go; to hating to go, but go we went.
I wasn’t really sure what love was at nine years of age but if there was one person I truly loved, it would have been my dying grandma. She was as kind as they came and spoiled me like no other. She was a larger lady that made the best biscuits and gravy and would always sneak me as many cokes as I wanted, just not after six in the evening. It was great times, but that all stopped as she became bed ridden. I would sit and listen to her cry and we would talk for hours after everyone else went to bed. She went from just being my grandma, to me knowing her like I had never known anyone else in my life. She would tell me about everything from her earliest childhood memory until now laying in that bed. Those times I will never forget and times I will cherish forever.
Soon, things took a turn for the worst and she couldn’t talk understandably anymore. She would though be clear enough to beg my dad and my grandpa to kill her to stop the pain yet they did nothing. Nothing except tell her over and over that everything is going to be alright. They were liars. All they did was lie and lie to her over and over. It upset me greatly. I wasn’t allowed to go in grandma’s room once she became really sick, but then again, I learned at an early age that rules are made to be broken.
One night after everyone had fallen asleep, I went in to see my grandma like I used to when we would have our long talks. She was now in a room, completely by herself as she would cry out in this sad whimper over and over. I didn’t understand how they could simply stand by and let her suffer, but they did and she suffered greatly.
A few years earlier, when my grandma was doing well, I stayed with my grandparents for a few weeks during the summer. They had the coolest dog named Benjamin. He had been with them for about seven years and had become covered in tumors or something. This particular day, my grandpa asked me to go and get Benjamin and bring him out behind his equipment shack in the
back of the house. I did as I was told and when I came around the corner I was surprised to see my grandpa standing there with one of his rifles.
He didn’t say a word. He took the leash from me and petted Benjamin on the head. He then took one step back, raised the rifle and before I knew what was happening the rifle went off. My grandpa shot Benjamin between the eyes right there in front of me. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. My brain wasn’t processing what had just happened. My ears were ringing. I could smell the smoke from the rifle. I could feel my heart beating. I couldn’t move.
I watched Benjamin squirm a little bit and then stopped moving all together. My grandpa lit a cigarette and looked at me and simply said, “It’s the right thing to do Daniel. No dog should suffer like that.”
The right thing to do I thought…
My grandma and I stared at each other for the longest time that night and she smiled as she knew I would take care of things.
I simply put a pillow over her face and held it there for the longest time. To this day my dad still thinks she died by God’s hand. I didn’t feel like a God but then again, it felt good.
It felt right.
I told her I loved her as I smothered her. She never made a noise.
She wanted to die. I wanted her to die too.
They all were happy she was no longer suffering the next morning when they realized she was dead. They thanked God over and over for taking her.
Really? They should be thanking me I thought to myself. They let her suffer. I did something about her pain. It didn’t matter though. I was just glad I didn’t have to hear my grandma cry out in pain anymore.