When my Nana died, I thought the world was ending. I thought I was never going to get over it, but I learned that even though the people you love are gone, they never really leave you. For such a horrible day, it started out pretty normal. She had gone into the hospital because she couldn’t breathe and was now in the I.C.U. after they found out she had lung cancer that was now inoperable because of a procedure they had done on her. It didn’t help that she had diabetes as well as a MRSA infection, and was severely overweight. Because of these problems, I took care of her since she also lived with us. Anyway, my Mom, brother, sister, and I had just gotten out of church and were going to get some bagels so we could go eat with her later, when my Mom got the call.
The doctor said that we had to come to the hospital because she was starting to go. My Mom jumped in the car and was racing to Nyack Hospital, we were all frantic. The three of us were asking, “What was wrong?” and “Was something wrong with my Nana?” Then she told us. The car went silent, and I remember thinking that my mother was lying because my Nana was too strong and that she couldn’t leave because I needed her too much. All I remember is that we got into her room and she was breathing very heavily and you could hear the rattling in her chest. I couldn’t look at her at all. All I could do was wonder why the doctors weren’t doing anything, when I remembered that my stupid mother had signed a D.N.R. statement.
My brother was crying and hugging her, my sister was crying and hyperventilating, and my mother was calling my father and my Uncle Anthony. I rushed over to her and wrapped my arms around her neck. In a loud whisper I said that she couldn’t leave me because she promised to be there to see me get my license, see me graduate high school and walk me down the aisle with my parents. She was only 67 for God’s sake!
As my Dad walked in, my Mom dragged me outside and told me not to tell her that because she was in pain and that my Nana had made a promise to God that she would go after she saw all of her grandchildren born. It didn’t help that she had lost my grandpa Tony years before and missed him like crazy. Also if I told her that she had to stay, she would feel guilty and stay behind and be in even more pain. So I went back in and told her it was okay to go, but I would miss her. All the time I was saying, no begging her in my mind for her to stay with us. As she left everyone was crying, and I had to go outside to breathe and call my Aunt Nicola. When she picked up she yelled that she would be right up from Yonkers and she would be at the house. After I hung up with her, I called my best friends who let me finally break down into a storm of tears.
The next few days were a blur, all I remember is crying and my best friends being at the wake for moral support and because they loved her as much as I did. I felt like I was in a dream, no a nightmare, that I couldn’t wake up from. For the next two years I became a shadow of my former self, going through the motions yet not moving forward. I had become a rock sitting on a riverbank as the water rushed by it. I fell into a depression and I felt like I was flying apart. On the 2nd anniversary of her death I had an dream about her. She told me that it was ok to move on and be happy because she wasn’t in any more pain and she was with my grandpa. She said that she wanted me to be happy and that she would always be watching over me. She also made me one other promise, that she would keep her other promises, because even though her body wouldn’t be there, her spirit would be.
Since then I have had times where I’ve smelled a whiff of her perfume, Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds Eau de Toilette, right near me. There’ve even been times where I’ve heard her voice telling me just about anything from long remembered sayings to just plain sarcasm. Also, as I get older, I can see parts of her in myself. Not just my physical features but also my mannerisms, behaviors, and the way I speak. It comes from having her helping to raise me. Knowing this makes it easier to live without her. I now know she will never leave me; because she’s been a part of me since the day I was born. I will never lose her ever, and I believe that you will never lose your loved ones because they too are a part of you that you will never lose, no matter what happens.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.