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I was ten the first time I truly remember encountering grief. We knew my Memo’s mom was ill, but as a child, death eluded my understanding. She was in the nursing home, and then she wasn’t. About 30 minutes after my last visit with her, she passed. Gone too soon like a vapor in the wind. Felt with a cold shudder, but unable to be seen in this world any longer. 

That evening, the snow outside my window didn’t look beautiful. It felt harsh, bleak, and cold. I’d never really known my Grandma Sampson very well, but based on my love for my Memo, I knew her mom was someone special. My heart ached for her. My mind grasped to comprehend. 

The next day, I insisted on going to school. I was in the 5th grade and had a spelling test. I was in shock when my Reading teacher pulled me aside and asked if I was sure I was okay to take the test. She wanted to excuse me, but I was persistent. The grief was still in my heart, but other things overtook my concentration and focus. I got a 100% on the test and moved on. From what I was feeling, and how I chose to cope.