My Experience Essay: The Walk of a Lifetime



A terrible nightmare of wires and pumps consumed my Nana's body and surroundings. His chest pumped with artificial air. His face was flushed and cold as the morning frigid air. His eyes shut as if glued together. I looked up and down his withdrawn body thinking back to the earlier morning events.

My grandparents live far away in Canada. To make up for the lost time, we go on a vacation together almost every summer. This supposedly joyful vacation to Los Angeles took place the summer before 3rd grade. The heatwave cycling through L. A was beyond comprehension. I felt like a dropped muddy popsicle melting by the villainous sun. We piled in the minivan like packed sardines to the nearest beach. The sunny seaside bustled with many people trying to cool down. Their umbrellas perked up like weeds in a yard. Seagulls waddle around, snooping for crumbs on the golden sand. Scanning the area for the perfect spot, I noticed a spot near a cave. It seemed quiet. The view was perfect. I can still remember those giant waves crashing against the black rocks, children splashing in the shimmering, turquoise water, and the slight breeze whistling a jubilant tune. As laughter filled the air, the atmosphere felt free and uplifting. I knew this would be a memorable day, just not in the way I expected it to be. 

I skipped toward the daunting, blue sea. Colossal waves, wading in and out, taunting me to come near me. With enough courage I along the peaceful seaside Noticing, my Nani sat comfortably down with my mom chit-chatting, my baby cousin playing softly with the golden sand, and my brother tossing a football casually with my uncle and dad. But I still couldn’t find my Nana. I stepped out of the water and walked towards my mom. “Hey, mom do you know where Nana is?”

My mother raises her eyebrow inquisitively,” I think he went to a walkout by the cove, why don’t you join.” said softly. 

“Ummm okay,” I agreed and scampered along the warm sand and smelling the salty breeze. Eventually, I saw my Nana sitting on an old rotten log silently smoking a cigarette. Looking at me he sighed, “I should quit these.” crushing the cigarette into tiny pieces eventually dissipating in the sand. 

“Why don’t you?” I asked innocently

“A very handsome and smart man once told me you only live once. So enjoy it while you have it. Besides, they are very addictive.”

We talked for a while, enjoying each other's company. Without noticing, we had waltzed from the beach to the pier near the seaside. I knew something was wrong when he seemed to stop in his tracks and started to kneel over. His hands seemed to grasp his chest, his breathing became more labored, gasping for air as if he was suffocating in space. Then I heard a thud and saw that he had fallen to the ground. My mind was yelling orders like a drill sergeant, but my noodle legs would not budge from where I was standing. My lips and mouth turned dry like sawdust. I could not yell or scream. All I could do is stare at the unconscious body as twilight came before us. Though it felt like an eternity, I finally could process the situation. I screamed at the top of my lungs, but the echoes of my scared voice were all I could hear back. I had to leave my grandpa and find help. I did not have a phone on me. I started to run across the pier and along the cold sand. My heart, beating out of my chest. My legs, wobbling with each step. The wind howled as I ran in a way cheering me to the finish. Finally, I had found my parents and explained what had happened. My mom’s trembling hands poked at the numbers on her phone, my grandma 

The rest happened so fast as if a tornado was ripping through my world as I once knew it. Blue lights and blaring horns overpowered the sudden hectic waves of the seaside. Screaming and sobbing consumed my world. Trails of hot tears streamed down my cheeks. I had no energy to wipe my face. My mom and grandma went to the small hospital near the beach. Then they were air-lifted to a more equipped hospital. The rest of my family and I were left stranded on the beach. All consumed in an emotional whirlwind. 

The wait was terrible. The chaos of the hospital served merely only as background noise for the questioning head, What was happening? Is Grandpa dead? When will we get to see him? I felt off as if I was an android with no emotions. No connections. Nothing. I could only sit still staring at the floor below me. Over course, later I came to realize this position was called shock. Which was a relief to hear because I was beginning to think I was not human. After an eternity, a tall, lean man who, I presumed was the doctor strode to our family. He mentioned a ton of useless jargon though I was only paying attention to if my grandpa was alive or not. A nurse escorted us to his room. As I entered his room, I stood frozen, looking at his limp, slacking body. His eyes shut as if causally sleeping. Lifeless as the nightmare of machines pumping air for him. The hissing of the ventilators and pumps muffled the silent tension of my family as we stared at the body before us and the distant future.

Though my grandfather did survive, it made me wonder if I was not with him, he could have died. Just thinking about your loved ones not being with you anymore makes you more appreciative of the time and memories you enjoy with them. Caring about your family and friends makes life meaningful and beautiful.