Silence. Silence as I stared at my dying grandmother, her fragile body rising with each pained breath. She was sleeping, her expression peaceful, although I knew she was suffering. Looking at her was like watching a train wreck, you can’t look away.
Only three minutes earlier I had been sitting in the hospital waiting room unable to pull myself together so I could walk into that depressing room and see the grandma that I loved. “I can’t mom. I just can’t,” I had told her in a desperate tone. It was a warm sunny winter day in Florida and now it seemed as cold and frostbitten as a winter night in Cleveland. Cancer, I hated that word. It had taken my uncle and now it had placed its claim on my grandma’s life. I believed that she would defeat it. She had seemed perfectly healthy only months before, in August when our family had ventured across Europe. I just couldn’t
understand how she could have deteriorated to this state of being so quickly. As my eyes locked on her face memories came rushing back into my mind: Christmases with her and Papa and the rest of my family, laughing over a table covered to the edges with food. The sweet aroma entering our noses as we reminisced over past events and talked about future plans, and summer days spent picking oranges. Then reality crashed over me, she really was sick. I sucked in a breath and walked out with my mom.
Two days later, on Tuesday November 23rd of 2004 my parents came home from the hospital. When they walked through the door I could tell that they weren’t bringing good news. My dad sat me down on his lap, my brother on my moms and said, “Your grandma died today.” I had rarely seen my father cry but this time he did. I sat there hugging him. My dad had already lost his brother and now his mom. It didn’t seem fair.
The following spring of 2005 the funeral was held in the graveyard where my dad’s brother was buried. There was a small gathering of people and a table on which my grandma’s ashes stood. The service was short and as people quietly dispersed I walked over to the small box that held her remnants. I placed the note that I had written to her
inside. Then I turned away and silently walked over to my family.
Although I never got to say goodbye, I believe that life goes on, no matter what you have lost. This is because the people who have left you would want you to live your life to the fullest, and enjoy every minute of it.
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