I believe in always letting those you love know how much they truly mean to you.
I was born in Puerto Rico and once my mother had to go back to working my grandmother, Lulin, was the one who raised me and cared for me every single day of the first twelve years of my life. Me and my grandmother were always very close. I remember, ever since I was around three years old, I always used to sneak into her room in the middle of the night because I always felt safer there. I truly enjoyed being around her, many times I would choose staying home with her playing Scrabble, watching Family Feud and The Wheel of Fortune, or even just contemplating her while she concentrated on her daily crossword puzzle, rather than playing outside with my friends. My grandmother is the most genuine, loving, caring, and optimistic person I have ever met. Most of my greatest childhood memories include her. I do not remember a day that would pass without me telling her how much I loved her at least twenty times. She really meant a lot to me. This is why leaving her to move to the U.S. is one of the hardest, heart-wrenching, experiences I have ever been through.
I left with my family on a Sunday morning in September of 2002. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the sadness in her eyes and how she held me with such tenderness not wanting to let go. She reassured me everything was going to be all right as she wiped my tears. She gave me one last hug, a kiss on the forehead and she left.
The following years we visited each other twice a year. I would spend my summers with her in Puerto Rico, while she visited us during the winter holidays. But around 2004 she started becoming very ill. By 2005 she was put in a nursing home because she was no longer able to care for herself. She became a dialysis patient and her Alzheimer increasingly worsened. Knowing she was so ill and that I was not by her side to support her really tore me apart. It got to the point where I stopped calling her or even asking how she was because knowing this hurt me too much.
She passed away on September 2006. To this day, I still regret not being there for her when she needed me the most. I regret every time I thought about calling her just to say “I love you,” and that I still thought about her every single day, but choosing not to do it reality hurt me a lot. I could not even remember the last time I had talked to her. “Did I tell her how much I loved her?”, this was all I could think about when she passed away. I know deep inside she always knew she meant the world to me and that she can hear me all the way from heaven when I say “Abuela, I love you.” I know this will never happen to me again. There is no worse feeling than not telling that special someone how much she meant to you and not being able to tell her anymore. Always tell your loved ones how much you love them and how thankful you are for having them be part of your life. Do not take one day for granted.
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