My name is Mindy Kim, and today started like any other day. I got up from bed, and my dog, Theodore the Mutt, wagged his tail and yawned. The sound he made was so cute!
“Good morning, Theodore!” I said, and patted him on the head.
I went to the bathroom like I always did in the morning. As I was in there, I heard the phone ring.
When I came out, though, it was quiet. Usually, either Dad or my stepmom, Julie, is already up. But this morning, no one was there in the hallway to say, “Good morning, Mindy!”
Holding my breath, I walked over to my parents’ bedroom and leaned against the door. Dad and Julie were whispering in their room. I couldn’t hear exactly what they were saying, but I could tell it wasn’t anything good.
I bit my lip and looked at the doorknob. I wasn’t sure if I should open the door or not! I looked down at Theodore, who wagged his tail again, but more slowly this time. He looked like he was encouraging me, so I reached out and opened the door.
Dad was sitting on his bed, clutching his phone with both hands. He was turned away from me, so I couldn’t see his face, but his shoulders were shaking. Was he crying?
Julie stood beside him with her hand resting on his shoulder.
“What’s wrong, Appa?” I asked softly, saying the Korean word for “Daddy.”
Dad turned to look at me but just shook his head. Julie took me by the hand and led me out of the room.
After closing the door behind us, she gently placed her hands on my shoulders, took a deep breath, and said, “We got bad news from Korea, Mindy. Your grandfather passed away. We just found out. I’m so sorry.”
My heart dropped to my feet. Just last week I’d called my grandpa and grandma. They had both seemed so healthy and happy!
“But how?” I asked. My voice came out quiet and small. “Was there an accident?”
Julie shook her head. “Thankfully not, but sometimes people your grandpa’s age die suddenly. The doctor said it was a heart attack.”
Tears welled up in my eyes, but I wiped them away as soon as Dad came out of the room. I didn’t want him to see me cry! Grandpa was his dad, so I couldn’t even imagine how sad he was. Seeing me cry would only make him even sadder.
He reached toward us, and Julie and I hugged him tight. We stayed there for a while, holding him steady as he shook from head to toe.