It was all too real. My body was numb with the fatal truth. My mind was racing faster than a cop on a high speed chase; pain pounding my head. Staring down on her cold body, there was nothing I could say nor do to change what had happened. She was gone. My Mamaw was gone.
When I had woken up that morning, It seemed to be a normal morning. I was at camp in PA. We had slept out in tents the night before. One of the counselors came to my tent and asked me to clean up my things. I was told I could go back to the campus and clean up early. Not knowing anything. When I walked into my room all of my things were packed up, and my dad was standing there. I was in shock to see him.
“Dad? Why are you here?”
“Mamaws’ sick, again, we need to go see her.”
I held back my tears and hugged my dad. We gathered my bags, and headed to the car. I saw this as just another sad visit. She was always so strong. A few years before we had been down to visit her in the hospital for blood clots. I saw this time to be the same old, at least that’s what I was hoping for. I slept most of the ride from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. I remember waking up at one point and hearing my brother ask,
“Why doesn’t she know yet?”
My dad replied with his quite worn down voice,
“Your mom wants to tell her.”
I didn’t have much time to think about it before I fell back asleep quickly.
When we arrived at my Grandma’s house, which happened to be right next door to my Mamaw’s, my whole family was there. I walked in and everyone was looking at me. I felt a unwelcoming, sad vibe in the room. It made me feel very uncomfortable. I hugged everyone and my mom asked me to sit down. I ask when we could go to the hospital to see Mamaw and my mom broke down into tears. I don’t remember my moms exact words, but I was told my she had had a major stroke and had been on life support. My mamaw always said she didn’t want to live like that. From that point on I was sick to my stomach, always crying and not knowing what to do. I was so helpless, my grandma was being so strong. She put the funeral together so fast.
The rest of the day was a blur of tears and racing thoughts. I woke up the next morning, it was quite. Everyone was getting dressed and tried to look as respectable as possible. We all had red faces from crying, our bodies ached with sadness, and our eyes dragged with deep purple bags underneath them.
When we arrived at the church, friends and family from the small Cherokee town was all around. They had flowers, food, gifts, and tear filled eyes. A beloved friend was lost. And to all of us, the world stopped spinning that day, the birds stopped singing, that clouds stood still, and the wind no longer blew.
We all gathered in the small church. For the next few hours we talked, sang, and remembered the life of my great grandma, Reba Rose. When the minister called people up to say their last good-bye, the body went stiff and cold. Now the moment had come where I would really have to say my last words. She was my grandma, my friend, and I didn’t want to let that feeling go.
When my Grandma Mandy, the daughter of my Mamaw, took my hand and slowly walked me up to the coffin my world feel apart. My eyes were drowning in tears, my face was wet and salty, my hands clammy. My whole body cramped up. “This is it”, I said to myself, I touched her hard hand, then kissed her rubbery cheek. She was so unreal. I knew she was already gone, this was just her body. But the very fact of having to say good-bye was killing me.
Things happen. The world goes on. We will always have our memories, and the future will always be there. Love is endless, the people we love will always truly be in our hearts forever. After my great grandmother death, my heart sunk a little lower but I became a little stronger. Although my Mamaw was a strong fighter sometimes things don’t go the way we plan them. The next we have to get out of bed and be strong for out loved ones, because they are watching over us. Things happen.
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