In The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells, many hardships and themes of struggle are present. The story explains the story of Jeannette, her siblings, and her unusual parents. Jeannette and her family are constantly moving around and living in less than adequate situations. Jeannette’s mother, has mental health problems. Her condition makes the children have to grow up and help provide for the parents. Additionally, her father, is an alcoholic. His behavior is violent and puts the family through a lot of struggles.
While growing up, Jeannette did not have any good friends to confide to. She was constantly met with bullying and the act of trying to fit in. Jeannette and her siblings were not brought up like a normal family. They were taught to not care what others thought, and with their mother’s attitude they lived unconventionally. Jeannette went through many hardships. Everything that Jeannette went through, helped make her into the person she is today. She was able to turn her difficult childhood into a hard work ethic and a desire for a better life for herself.
Hardships come in all shapes and forms throughout a person’s life; although mine are at the level of Jeannette’s, l’ve been through a hardship of grief that changed my perspective on life. (213) Igrew up never knowing grief. I never had to experience a death in my family or go through the process of losing a loved one. That all changed when my grandpa became sick. My parents left me out of the situation at first, I believe everyone was just hoping it would get better before they had to deal with the reality of the bad. Unfortunately the bad came, and the cancer my grandpa had put him in Hospice care at the grandparent’s house.
Approximately seven hours. That’s the time it took to drive from my house to my grandparents’ in Wisconsin. We made the trip many times that year, and sometimes even twice in a month. Sometimes my parents had to go without my siblings and I, so my older sister would come home from college to watch us. I don’t think I grasped how serious it was. I got caught up in the motion of visiting and saying my goodbyes each time, that I didn’t realise a last time would ever come. May 8, 2010 is a date that always be with me. That was the day that my grandpa passed away.
Every single part of that date is engrained in my memory. My parents had driven up to Wisconsin, and my older sister Lauren drove home for college to stay with me. It wasn’t out of the normal for my parents to quickly leave, so I didn’t think much of it. I remember going to hang out with Tatum, my best friend of the time. It was a nice day outside, so of course we were outside playing on the trampoline and doing all our weird routines like we always did. Her family, who was like a second family to me, decided to go out to eat so they brought me along. We went to La Charitas. I remember how Mrs.
Teeple pulled out a funny card game for us to play, and I remember Tatum cutting out faces in her tortilla, making us all laugh. When we got back to the house we saw that my sister called, so I said bye to the Teeples and walked one minute down the road to my house. Lauren, who is one of the most emotional in the family, was left with the task of telling me that my grandpa had passed away. I had just grabbed a snack of chocolate cheerios as she started to tell me the news. I didn’t know how to react, so I ran into the basement directly to the furthest corner I could find. Lauren tried talking to me, but | wanted to be by myself.
One of the hardest things I have ever done was talking to my dad on the phone after finding out. He called to tell me the plans, that he was coming home to get us, and that he loved me. I remember so vividly trying to choke back the tears so that he didn’t have to hear me crying. Ever since that night, I haven’t been able to bring myself to eat chocolate cheerios again. Thave always been the quiet one in the family. The child who wasn’t outspoken, and the one who was pretty shy. My grandpa was the same way. He was always quiet and preferred the background anyday over center stage. That connected the two of us.
My favorite memories included my grandpa allowing me to sit with him in his chair, the countless high fives we gave each other, and when he would call me his little rascal–and he got to be my big rascal. I loved my grandpa, and any time we spent together was enough for me. When he was sick, I became scared of him. I was afraid to go by his side. I regret not having the courage to stand by his side. When I found out he died, I thought of him as sick. It took a long time before I could shake the memories and remember him for who he was before cancer. The day of the visitation came.
The whole family traveled in one car to the funeral home. There was a lot of hugging and meeting family I didn’t really know. I remember the shock of seeing my grandpa’s brother, who looked almost identical to my grandpa. When it was time to leave the funeral home, my family members went to the casket to say a goodbye. I stayed behind. When we got back in the car, we had to squeeze everyone back in. Since we were a little short on room, I remember crawling to the back of the car and stuffing my face into my polar bear. My sister tried to get me to share a seat with her, but I stayed in the back.
For years after, I would pull my polar bear out of storage and take in the smell and recall all the memories. It’s been seven years and the smell has faded, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to get closer to the time I had with my grandpa. I’m sure it varies from person to person on what is worse, the funeral or visitation. For me, the funeral was my breaking point. Thave never been the one to cry in front of others. I hate when my parents cry, so I thought that if I could hold it in, then somehow my mom would be okay. I thought that I owed that to her.
Before the funeral started, everyone sat down. The minister came up to my sisters, cousins, and I, and told us to walk up and say our final goodbyes. To this day our family still wonders why the minister choose that time to do so. I started walking up with my sisters. I saw my cousin lean in to say her goodbyes, and I stopped. My sisters went ahead without me, and I stopped frozen in my tracks. I looked at the open path between the casket and I, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t say my final goodbyes. I ran to the side, and the rest is a blur. Once I started crying, I didn’t stop.
It seemed like everyone around me had been dealing through their grief up until this point, when I had just begun to realize it all. From what I heard, it was a lovely ceremony, and my grandma was pleased with how it went, but I can’t recall any of it. I cried and sniffled through the entire funeral. It was raining as we drove to the cemetery, and the weather seemed to match my current state. I couldn’t stop crying. I cried into my pillow on the drive home, and then proceeded to cry the following nights after. For a little girl who has never experienced grief before, my world began to change.
I began acting out. It wasn’t anything abnormal considering! was about to go into middle school. I was short with my parents, and spent all my time in my room. I requested a bunk bed to be put in my room. I told my parents I wanted the extra space since my room was so small, but really I wanted to be high up so I could cry without them seeing me. I cried almost every night. I was angry, I was filled with regret, and most importantly I had no idea how to go through a proper grieving process. That year and the years following, I especially acted out when my grandma would visit.
I wouldn’t spend time with her, and I was flat out rude to her. I didn’t realize at the time what I was doing. Now looking back, I was upset because I was always my grandpa’s girl, and now there was only my grandma. I resented her for it. Only years later, am I able to see how unfair that was. My grandpa’s death was the first time I ever had to deal with grief. As I found out, I struggle with it. I distanced myself for family, from the world, because I was afraid of this new revolution that my family is all going to die at some point in my life.
Instead of talking about it, or letting my emotions go through the stages, I held everything in. I held all my emotions until I exploded. Every since my grandpa’s death, I have dealt with my emotions this way, and it’s constantly a learning experience to try to improve myself. Little eleven year old me, has taught me to express my feelings. I had so much repressed emotions from grieving, that it had lasted me years, and escalated how I dealt with any stress or conflict in my life. I try to be more open, and not shut out everything in my life.
I know I’ll always have some ounce of regret for never saying my final goodbye, but I’ve since been able to move on. On December 30, 2013, 1 journaled an entry to my grandpa, it reads: I had forgotten. How you looked, how big you used to be. The manner you sat, the way you talked. I had forgotten. The effect you had on everyone around you. I had forgotten. How much I missed you. I try to remember the bird noises you made, to make me laugh. The high fives which I would hit you as hard as possible. You were so strong, and then you weren’t. The noises were gone, you could barely talk.
No more high fives, because this time I was stronger. The man I saw as invincible, was now lying in front of me. I was so scared, but I grabbed your hand and sat by you. Everytime I said goodbye, I wished it was not the last. The last time I said goodbye, you held my hand longer, said my name a few more times. I left with tears streaming down my face. You left me. When I was so far away. I was too far when I needed to be close. I came too late to see you again. You were in a beautiful coffin, surrounded by people you loved and who loved you. You were always the shy one, but now center of it all.
I stayed far away from you, and was scared to come close. The next day a man told us to say goodbye. I watched the older girls, I then walked towards you. I came so close but was still too far. Then I left. I couldn’t see you like that, I couldn’t be in that situation. You were strong, you were forever, and then you were gone. Under the ground, on a beautiful hill. I never got to say: goodbye, I love you. I know the years have passed, I have something to tell you. Grandpa, Big Rascal, I will always remember you. It’s time for a proper Goodbye. Love always, Olivia.