August 24, 2014, was a day that changed my life forever. This day made me realize that no one can live forever, and I can't stop the looming cloud called Death. My grandpa, Grampy, was diagnosed with cancer as I was about to begin my freshman year of high school. All of my memories consist of him taking us to new parks, playing baseball in the backyard, riding ATVs and dirt bikes, and seeing a man, that had never let us see him hurting, slowly drifting away.
Grampy was the kind of man that wanted to be involved in every aspect of his granddaughters' lives. When I played volleyball, I would look up in the stands and see my grandfather proudly displaying his favorite Fillies t-shirt with a big smile on his face. After the game he would always tell me what I did that was great and what I needed to work on to get better. But sadly, Grampy never got to see me play my first high school game. Being the man that he is, he refused chemotherapy and radiation treatments and decided that he would go out as a dignified man.
He never let my sister and I know that he was hurting, but no matter what, we could see it on his face. My grandfather was ripped from my life far too soon. He never got to see me accomplish so many of my goals. He will never get to proudly wear a Ball State Grandpa shirt around town, all because of cancer. I think to myself, What if Grampy were here? Would he be proud of me? Would I have played volleyball my senior year?
After he passed away I felt as though a piece of my life was torn out of me and buried with him. To this day, I feel the effects of his death. I believe that his death has affected my mental health significantly. I realized that I could no longer be truly happy, all of the "happiness" I felt from that point on was an act so my parents didn't worry about me. Sometime last year I finally snapped, all of the emotions I had been feeling for the past 3 years started pouring out of my mouth to the people I should have trusted in the beginning. It was then that I had threatened to harm myself and that ripped my parents to shreds.
I have never truly been happy since the day of his passing. Like I said, Grampy never lets me know that he was in pain, I never saw him cry until one day when I was at his house doing yard work. He owned roughly 5 acres of land that needed care. I was using one of our ATVs to aid me in picking up sticks when I went to go put the machine back in the barn, I tugged it too hard toward myself and burned my thigh on the exhaust pipe. I went inside to tell my grandma and to get a cold washcloth to sooth the pain and that's when I heard Grampy crying to my grandma about how if he wasn't sick, then I wouldn't of gotten hurt. This tore me apart and also is why I refuse to do yard work now.
I have recently gotten a tattoo in honor of my grandfather, LVM, Louis Vernon Mattingly, accompanied by two lines a few spaces down. These spaces represent at uncrossed and an I undotted. This is a subtle nod to Twenty One Pilots as well, however, I see them as once I get my life on track and figured out, then and only then, can I cross my t and dot my i. My grandfather will be the first to know that I've gotten my life straightened out because it is right next to him. Grampy was the bright shining light of my life until he was viciously taken from my family far too soon. I know that he is watching over me always and is so very proud of the accomplishments that I have made. I love you Grampy…
01/08/1942 to 08/24/2014.