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An Essay for College

For as long as I live, I will never forget going out into the back yard and chipping golf balls; it was my grandfather, Norman, who had originally inspired my love of the game. I will also remember taking countless trips to the mall with both of my grandparents, where the Disney store had always been the first, and most important, stop. Then, we would all go out for dinner at some great restaurant, and at the conclusion of his meal, my grandfather would always call out, “uncle,” just one of the many sayings which, to our family, had become as familiar as “five for fighting” would be to a hockey player. Before he died, my grandfather left so many everlasting impressions that it would be impossible for us to forget; speaking on behalf of a family of Yankee fans, ours is truly the one that Norman built.

My cousin, Matt, and I were putting together a jigsaw puzzle on my grandmother’s dining room table. We had been at her house, along with my other cousins, Julie and Daniel, and my Aunt and Uncle, nearly every one of the past three-hundred-and-sixty-nine days of hell. Lately, however, there had been a different feeling around, a feeling that went beyond that singed burning sensation, and simply exploded in your face. Armageddon appeared to be near, and at this point, any one of us would have given our lives for the ability to stop the clock.

As I finished attaching the Statue of Liberty’s torch to her hand, my father and uncle came into the dining room. They each quietly summoned us away from the puzzle, and we were quickly separated. My mother was waiting by the kitchen table, and my father and I went over to her. Then, as quickly as the shocking announcement of the cancer had come just over a year ago, everything came to a crashing halt. At that moment, my father informed me that my grandfather had officially lost his battle with the odds, and my heart sank lower than I ever knew possible.

How I, or any of us, got through the next week remains the eighth wonder of the world. Every day after school, my parents and I would make the half-hour drive to Fairfield, where my family would sit Shiva, and see at least fifty people throughout the evening. I can still remember, six years later, trying to juggle the constant parade of people, the horrible feeling that comes along with losing a grandfather, and, of course, my homework. As busy as I was, I wanted nothing more than to just kick everyone out, sit back, and do absolutely nothing. That, however, was not an option.

In retrospect, that year was by far one of the hardest I have ever had to deal with, or ever will. It is also a time that I will never forget. To this day, my grandfather is one of the most influential people in my life, and I know that I would be lucky if I grow up to be half the man he was. Besides looking up to him, I also feel as if I owe him more than you could possibly imagine. It was through our chipping matches in the back yard that I acquired my love of golf, which is something that not only keeps me in touch with my grandfather, but is also one of my deepest passions. In fact, whenever I make a particularly nice shot, or sink a difficult putt, I point to the sky, in recognition of the man who ignited my love of the game.

If there is one thing that can be learned from an untimely death, it is that there are not many things we can ever predict. The one thing I do know, however, is that for as long as I live, I will strive to emulate my grandfather in every way. He was a man who followed his own passion, creating and running his own business, which thrived until that day cancer forced him out. His first priority was always his family, his second was everyone else, and his third was, well, his family again. He was the most unselfish, caring person I have ever met, and he taught me lessons that I know I will carry me for as long as I live…however long that may be.

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