What she said. Also, if you have been accepted, inquire about deferring a year. This way you don't even have to reapply.
deferral usually requires that you commit to that school, and you can't apply to other schools in the meantime. i don't know whether that's the case for ALL schools or just for the ones i've seen.
a clean slate will be nice, esp since i know the crud of which you speak
it may not be COMPLETELY clean, as some schools ask whether you've applied before, esp if it was in the last couple of years since they keep applications on file for a little while. but that shouldn't be a problem, and really the "crud" that happened wasn't that big of a problem anyway. it was an annoyance, but i can't imagine it would impact any decisions. it'll be nice for you to just have the one clean app next year, though.
i'm really sorry to hear about your grandfather
i hope everything works out!