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On February 4, I got the news from my parents that my grandfather had passed away at 6:30am in the morning. I was on my way home from Kawagoe when I first got the text.

At first, the news came as disbelief. I was fortunate enough up until that moment to not have anyone I know pass away. I didn’t know what it was like to lose someone, so my mind just went blank as I re-read the text several times over. I wasn’t exactly close to my grandfather because of some family matters, but at the same time, he was my grandfather.My mind automatically went to how my mom was handling this news and my heart broke for her.

It wasn’t until one of my friends put a hand on my shoulder and called my name did I start feeling the tears well up in my eyes. Apparently they had saw the text when they glanced over, wondering why I was staring at the text for so long.

The feeling was like someone punched me in the gut and knocked all the wind out of me. My chest was tight and tears threatened to spill, but I was in public, on a crowded street, nonetheless, so I refused to cry. However, my friends were not making it any easier. As I struggled to pull myself together, they asked me if I was okay and if I wanted a hug. Knowing that I would most definitely start breaking apart, I told them no and to give me a quick minute alone. They looked a bit sad as I told them that, but withdrew their hand on my shoulder and just stood behind me quietly. Looking back on it now, I should have not reacted like so because all they wanted to do was help.

After a good minute, I managed to blink away the tears and continued home in silence. However, the closer I got home, the more I realized I didn’t want to be at home with my thoughts. When I told my friends this, they nodded, saying they could book a hotel (and told me to not worry about the price because they’d split the bill and pay for me) and stay out with me instead. At that moment, I almost burst out in tears again. What did I do to deserve such great friends?

The whole day, they tried to cheer me up. They all split up to find comfort food. They asked me what I wanted to eat and tried their best to get it for me while I stayed back in the hotel to think. When they got back with all the food, they asked me if I wanted to be alone or if I wanted company. I chose the latter and grieved with them right next to me. I apologized for my initial behavior of waving them off when they were trying to help me, but they scolded me for even feeling guilty about it. During this time, some of them cried with me. Even though I was in grief, I was so happy that they were there for me.

That said, I want to use this as a chance to thank my grandfather and friends for everything that they did for me. Despite note being close to my grandpa, he will always be in my heart. I hope he can rest in peace, for he has had a good life up until now. Furthermore, I’m grateful to have met such kind people abroad that would help me through these hard times. Thank you both for supporting me when I most needed it – I am forever grateful.

May he rest in peace.

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