I was the last to get out of the car, feeling cold with each and every step I took towards the front door of the house. My hand clutched my mother's tightly and the cries from the living room could be heard.
Fear shot through me of what I was about to see. I'd never seen my grandpa in such a state - unmoving, lifeless... He'd always been so active, so strong and good-willed for his age. The thought of seeing him shook me to the very core.
Even at the age of seven, I'd been so aware of what was going on. But that didn't make it any easier when I saw his body.
The first thing I noted was that the whole family was there. Cousins, uncles and aunts, my grandparents' sisters and brothers and even a few unrecognisable faces - people I hadn't met before. It was all alarming, too much to take in a few seconds.
That was when I saw him. I don't remember what he was laying in - a coffin? Or on a bed? But his face still stands out in my memory.
Pale compared to his usual colorful tanned skin...unmoving with his eyes closed in an eerie and peaceful way. It touched me to the very core. I felt myself be torn away from my mom who had no resistance to hold onto me. My cousins immediately took me away as I broke into sobs, tears escaping my eyes as I made no attempt to hold them back.
Nancy and Reno took me to the house through the back door (we had two houses - one belonging to my grandfather, and another to my mom and dad). My other cousins were there as well and comforted me as I wept. But it didn't help.
They couldn't bring him back. And that was the cold hard truth of reality. It bit. Hard.
And for the first time, I was really hurting.