For Children

Beatrice Gouverneur

Why Did She

5th & 6th Grade Prose Winner

It was the day after Easter, April 21, 2014, I was still asleep. My family and I were at my grandma’s house in New Hampshire. The sun peeked through the white curtains in the back room, where I was sleeping on a pull-out couch. I thought today would be just like every other day of our spring break: peaceful and quiet.

That was until I heard my dad come in and turn on Grammie’s oxygen tank. I quickly woke up. My dad, noticing that I was awake, came in my bedside and said, “Good morning, Bea. Grandma doesn’t seem to feel well, and we have called Aunt Cheryl. Cheryl said to dial 911 and turn on Grammie’s tank.” My Aunt Cheryl is a nurse. Immediately I knew this was not how I had thought the day would be. Grammie had not used her oxygen tank in a long time.

I was still very tired and I fell back to sleep. Soon I woke again, but now I had been startled by the sound of an ambulance pulling up to the driveway of Grammie’s house. I walked outside, still in my pajamas, and held the door for the paramedics as they rushed to help Grammie. There were four guys and one girl. They took a look at my Grammie, and talked to my mom and dad.

I was scared. What was wrong? Why was this happening?

The paramedics put Grammie on to an upright stretcher and took her outside. My mom got into Grammie’s car, and followed the ambulance to the hospital. Dad, my brother, who was now awake, and I went back in the house. Dad called his boss in New York to say that he couldn’t go to work the next day because of a family emergency. We all felt sad, but we couldn’t stay inside all day, so we got dressed. And to cheer us up, Dad took us to a diner for breakfast, then to the library, and to the Old Country Store, across from the library. There, I bought a mug with Grammie’s name, “Alice,” painted in blue letters, with a white background.

We were all worried about Grammie, but we didn’t know how to help. My mom spent all day at the hospital. When she came home that night, she told us that Grammie had an infection that had gotten into her blood. Because Grammie had a weak heart, the infection was attacking her whole body.

The next day, my aunt came up from New Boston, to be with Grammie, and we drove home to New York. Mom said we had to wait and see what would happen to Grammie, and to hope for her recovery.

Weeks went by. In May, still no improvement. Though Grammie was out of the hospital, she had been moved to a rehab center.

In June, they moved her back to the hospital; she was growing weaker and couldn’t walk. Mom said, “Grammie is very sick, and might die.” I was really sad. I even cried in school.

In July, my mom and her sisters moved Grammie to her home, because she was not happy in the hospital. Grammie was put in a bed in the living room where she could look out at the lake and mountains. She was still very sick, and couldn’t walk. Everyone came to visit her for the Fourth of July. Even though Grammie couldn’t talk, everybody was happy to see her, and she seemed happy to see us, her family and her friends.

Two weeks later, Mom announced that she was going to New Hampshire to be with Grammie. The next day, Dad said that Grammie had died the night before. I felt sad, but for some reason, I didn’t cry.

On July 25th, we buried Grammie. The sun was shining bright. The heat hurt on my back, and made me feel like crying, but I knew I couldn’t cry, because it would make everyone else cry too.

At the funeral, the minister asked my cousin to read Grammie’s obituary. He asked me to read “A Soldier’s Wife’s Creed” because Grammie was a military wife. I was scared, because I had to read it in front of everyone, and hadn’t had time to practice. I knew this was for Grammie, it didn’t matter if I wanted to read or not. Grammie would be proud of me. As I started to read, my cousin began crying. I had never seen her cry before. It was so heartfelt. Not even her parents had seen her cry like this. After my reading was over, I cried too.

As I sat there listening to the minister, I remembered how on my fifth birthday, Grammie was going to fly from New Hampshire to New York to be with me, but then I found out that she had to have open-heart surgery. After that, I always celebrated either my half, fourth, or three-quarters birthday at her house. Once, it was Easter and we were going to celebrate my half birthday. Grammie brought me a cake shaped like a bunny. It had plastic flower-shaped rings on it.

After the funeral, we went back to the house. Grammie’s family came to dinner, and we all went for a swim in the lake.

On July 26th, we had a church service. There were a lot of people I didn’t know. My Mom’s cousin sang a song that my grandparents liked called “I’ll Be Seeing You.” A bagpiper played “Amazing Grace,” because Grammie was Scottish and loved the song.

Driving back to New York City, I stared helplessly out the car window and thought, “Well, now I don’t have any grandparents.” I felt alone, but also grateful to have known Grammie for so long because all my other grandparents died before I was born or when I was very young. I looked up at the sky, and thought that maybe Grammie was looking down at me.