Live From The Field

Losing my grandfather while in Ecuador

My grandfather was quite a character and was part of what made my family so much fun.  He had the best stories, and was immediately accepting of my decision to take a gap year, since he understood;  right out of high school he enrolled in the army and served in a war.  My heart broke when on October 27 at 9:34 in the morning my mom called me to tell me “Allison, grandpa passed away last night”.   The tears immediately began to stream.  I never thought I would have to deal with this level of loss and grief in South America. It is impossible to accept that when I go back home my grandpa will not be there to greet me with a box of Oreos and say, “well you look good!  Tell me everything”.   That day, my life became black and white.  There was no grey area anymore. Waking up in each morning was hard, but I couldn’t let the pain get in the way of experiencing the months I have left in Ecuador.  To honor his memory, I know I need to make every day here count, as he would have.  It helped that my host little brother can be counted on to always smile at me and give me a big hug.  Then much of the pain faded into the distance for a moment in time. Grief is such a heavy thing to carry with you.  My grandfather’s passing is a huge loss.  However, his inspiration and love remind me why I am here in Ecuador. Sometimes I think I hear his voice in my head (a good thing), and I see the house all done for Christmas (he was the neighbor who did outdoor lights in a big way) and this confirms how much joy he brought into my world. He would have wanted me to keep pushing through, even when it is hard. My grief is like that grey cloud when it’s about to storm.  It is huge and covers everything right now.  I know, in time, the storm will clear and the sun will come out eventually. I love you papa! Thanks for teaching me so much about life and for the courage I inherited from you to make this journey.


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