Papa Jean

I can not remember how he died; Papa Jean. All I knew was that he was very sick and old. I remember him lying on the hospital bed, which he insisted on moving into the magnificent living room because he didn’t want to be alone. The living room, with the huge chandelier, filled with family pictures, which we were hesitant to enter, and always tried peeking into. Papa Jean, the hospital bed, in the living room, filled with the smell of tangerines and medicine; always looking out the window, wishing he was somewhere else.

I remember how much he loved oysters, the ones my family told him to stop eating because they were too salty for his weak heart. He died because he ate too much salt which affected his cardiac insufficiency, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. The foods he couldn’t eat were too many and too much, and when he was eating those oysters, he didn’t know what they were doing to him. He didn’t know he would end up in the hospital bed, in the living room, slowly dying.

Papa Jean, who would sit in his armchair in the billiard room, watching rugby matches, because he didn’t like soccer. The box T.V, which was soon replaced after he left us. Papa Jean, who would drive his old red Jeep into the woods, prepared to hunt, and maintain the forest. Papa Jean, who would read books, books, and more books, died. He died in the hospital and was then brought back to his house, to receive his final goodbyes. Papa Jean who was placed in a coffin, in the middle of the church, surrounded by thousands of flowers and three candles, which the three of his grandchildren had to lit up, is now in a better place, which my 4-year-old self didn’t seem to understand. And now, my 13-year-old self still wonders and wishes to have known Papa Jean, who isn’t really my Papa, better.

 

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