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Remembering Grandma Cooper

Sometimes life can be an amazing experience, but just as easily as that it can take a turn and before you know it, life's throwing you curveballs. Unfortunately that happened to me about a week and a half ago while I was on my cruise in the Caribbean.

I had the time of my life while I was on the ship. I got to climb a 900-foot waterfall, go bobsledding, and zip lining while I was in Jamaica, and then I got to go parasailing for the first time while I was in Labadee, Haiti. But, just like life, all good things come to an end, and our cruise ended.

I got off the ship last Saturday, and my dad and I had to wait for two hours at the train station for our train to Boca Raton, Fla. I was sitting at the train station trying to do anything to pass the time, when my phone started ringing. It was my older sister, Jessie, and when I answered I could tell something wasn't right.

I let her talk to my dad for a little while, than she got on the phone with me and gently told me my grandma had passed away that Wednesday. It was an unexpected death, but she had gone incredibly peacefully, and they had happened to be with her when it happened.

My first reaction was anger -- anger toward the world for no apparent reason. My grandma had lived only 90 miles away in Bemidji but I hadn't seen her for about a year, so guilt and remorse took over for that reason, but I managed to push past it. Instead of feeling angry and guilty that she was gone, I decided it was better to remember all the good times we had shared throughout the years.

My grandma and I had been incredibly close when I was younger. I remember spending weeks at a time with just her at the Regency Park apartments in Bemidji. My cousins Cameron and Mick and I made it a usual part of our day to get into whatever mischief and adventures we could there.

I remember this giant dirt mountain and we would play on it until my grandma came outside and saw us up there. She would come running out frantic and tell us to come inside. I would then ask "Are we in trouble, Grandma?" and she would respond with a "No, not this time."

Then one day after getting kicked off of our dirt mountain, we snuck out and decided to run around the entire apartment complex. We came running around the corner to my grandma sitting outside waiting for us. She told us to come inside, and again I asked "Are we in trouble this time, Grandma?" and she responded with "only a little" with a wide smile on her face. Then she took us out for ice cream cake.

I had my own bedroom in her apartment, and when I was young, I was convinced it was haunted, and I would always end up crawling into bed with her because I would get myself so scared, but it never bugged her.

As she got older, I started to take notice of the fact she wasn't quite what she used to be, and it was hard for me to see because she had been such an impact on my growing up. It was hard to witness.

Her memory slowly started to fade, but every year I still received a birthday card. She couldn't remember her own name but she always remembered my birthday, even this year at age 91. My sister would also call her all the time, but no matter how many times she said "this is Aimee," my grandma would always respond "Jonah?" There is no doubt in my mind she loved me unconditionally.

Anyway, I bask in the opportunity to celebrate my grandma's life, and I'd like to say rest in peace Erma Cooper (1/20/22- 2/13/13), age 91. I'll always love you, and I'll never forget the times we shared together. You'll always be in my heart.

Jonah Bowe is a senior at Detroit Lakes School.