by Eli Martinez
(Salem, Oregon, USA)
Two minutes left on the board, West Salem has the ball on the 15 yard line; the score is 21 to 27. We were all exhausted, lethargic, and drained we didn’t have the energy to take another step, but the adrenaline was pumping giving us that extra boost of energy that we needed. We marched into the end zone winning the games 28 to 27 over the number three ranked team David Douglas. We lined up on the 50 shook hands with the opposing team and ran to the end zone to talk about our glorious victory, we later went the 40 and prayed to God for safety. I remember walking over to my parents and seeing them in tears. My mom ran over to me and said “honey we need you to hurry… something bad has happened”.
We are now our way to the hospital. We are going 65 in a 35 mph road, swerving through lanes, in and out of traffic, running red lights all on the way to Salem Hospital. “Click” the doors unlocked, we're sprinting through the parking lot to the entrance of Building D. it is now 10:30, and the front doors of the building are lock. We start running to E.R. on the other side of the building. When we arrive I can see my grandma crying through the glass of the electric sliding door. My entire family is there, with heads down, and tear drops descending from cheeks like water from a faucet falling every so gentle causing puddles to form on jeans and sweatshirts. As we sit waiting for an update I start reminiscing on the memories that I had created with my grandpa. There was a time when I was a boy when I jumped on my grandpa’s couch, he didn’t like that. He got up out of his recliner walked over to the couch were I lay shaking with fear, and turned around and jumped on me. He got up and asked “did you like how that felt” I simply replied with “no”. He turned me over and unbuckled his belt and started spanking me yelling “tenga, tenga”. That was one of many memories running through my mind at the time while I was sitting in the waiting room.
It was close to 12:30 when my dad woke me up telling me that we can now go see my grandpa up in his room. I got up looked around and noticed that everyone had left, had they gone home to sleep and return in the morning to pay their respects. We walked over to the elevator and pressed the button to the third floor, and waited anxiously for the door to open up. We walked over to room 315 where there was a white name tag that read in bold black letters “Martinez”. I walked to find that my grandpa was watching Spanish soap opreas with my grandma, and walked to his bedside and leaned over and gave him a hug and a kiss and said “what’s up Patron” he replied hesitantly as though he didn’t remember and said “ mijo”. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was in serious pain. I later found out that he had a stroke that paralyzed him on his right side, and had also affected his long term memory. I went over to the chair and sat down seeing my brother going over to give my grandpa a hug. They started pretending to fight which takes me back to another memory where he taught us how to fight. I was five maybe six, and I was sitting in a plastic poolside recliner when I overheard my grandpa asking my brother if he wanted to know how to fight. I got up and walked over to them and watched my grandpa give my brother fighting lessons. He turned to my brother and said “mijo this is what you do first” and punches him in the nose. He asked “see how that made your eyes water up” then he punches him in the gut “see how you can’t breathe”. I watched from behind the tree laughing at my brother getting his butt beat up by my grandpa. To conclude the lesson my grandpa punched him right in the coin sack causing my brother to drop to his knees. My grandpa laughed than said “see if you were to do that to a women she wouldn’t be on the ground crying… she be standing there laughing at you”. I must have fallen asleep in the mist of that last memory because I remember waking up to the steady beat of his heart monitor going “beep, beep, beep”.
I just woke up to the doctor telling my parents what was wrong with my grandpa. They later told me that he had a stroke and was now paralyzed on the right side of his body. I was devastated to know that the man I loved so much was lying there dying before my eyes. My grandpa was the most positive role model that I have ever known; he was a foster parent back in California, loved to play music with his guitar and most of all he was at peace with God.
It is now 7:30 am Saturday morning getting ready to start my day by eating a delicious hospital breakfast. I walk back into my grandpa’s room and he wanted me to go to him, I pulled up a chair to sit down. He told me to come close and he whispered “Mijo, I want you to become one with God. Be at peace with your Father.” I sat down and kept hearing what he said playing in my head over and over again. I remembered the days where my grandpa would be up early in the morning sitting in his black leather chair and studying his bible, learning life’s lessons from the man that he loved so much his Heavenly Father.
Football is over. We won the CVC for the second time in school history and lost in the semi-finals to Jesuit. It is December 2, 2009 and a day that I will never forget. We are in my grandpa’s hospital room surrounding his bed. The doctor said he does not have long to live. We are all saying our goodbyes, telling him that it was his time to go; his time to go meet the Holy Father. It was my turn to walk up and say my goodbyes and I gave him a hug and a kiss and told him that I will find peace with God. I will be one with our Heavenly Father. He looked into my eyes and shook his head and started to cry. I stepped aside to let others give their goodbyes. As he lays dying, I begin to pray to God to accept my grandpa into His kingdom and for Him to always watch over me when I am weak or when I am down.
It is now 11:30 pm December 12th, and my grandpa is now at peace. I like to think that he is celebrating with his brother Willie and his parents Lucia and Demus. My grandpa’s death has made me closer to God. I am glad to say as of September 27, 2011, I am finally at peace with God.