My G-ma; My Friend.

When I was eighteen, I was a senior in high school. Five days before graduation, it was warm for May, and my friend and I were having a lot of fun hanging out. My grandmother- who I called "G-Ma" because she was too cool to be a grandma- called me. We often talked on the phone, and had lengthy conversations when I visited.. Which also, was often. I ignored her call, figuring she would understand if I told her I couldn't talk at the time. Shortly after, at about one PM, I heard my phone ringing again. It was my mom, who was at work, and never phoned during the day. Immediately, my hear stopped, and sank to my stomach. She told me my G-Ma had passed out at her table during lunch and wouldn't wake up. She asked where I was, and said she was on her way. I cried. I cried because I felt something inside that said that something just wasn't right, and I didn't know why. Having been fortunate enough to not know loss until that point in my life, I wasn't sure how to react in time of a crisis.

Living only a half hour from the hospital, we rushed there. We were bombarded with calls to both mine and my mom's phone, but also my aunt's, who was with us. People asking what was happening, crying and prayers. We soon happened upon some road construction, and got delayed. We tried to make up for lost time, but it was no use. Hordes of busy commuters, chatting on their cell phones, cutting us off, and speeding around our car slowed us down, but probably not as much as it seemed at the time. Finally getting there, we park in a spot that wasn't a parking spot, but it didn't matter to us, at least not then. Running to the door, the first thing I see is my uncle sitting on his knees in the ambulance parking space, crying. It was at this point that I didn't need to be told. I knew. And I swear, I felt my own heart break. My uncle and I walked into the emergency entrance, and saw something I had never seen then, and haven't seen since: my grandfather crying.

I walked into the small room where she had been worked on, and saw my G-Ma, my beautiful angel, my best friend, laying on a table with tubes everywhere. I screamed. I told them, "Look at her! Her chest is moving! She's not gone, you're wrong." To everyone else, it was simply the ventilators moving oxygen into her lungs, but to me, it seemed like her body was moving on it's own. The doctor on call took me and my uncle out of the room, and stepped outside. It was there that he offered me a cigarette, in front of the red no smoking sign, and began to speak to me. He told me that there was nothing they didn't try, and I believed him. He also apologized because he heard that I was graduating soon. I told him to not be sorry she missed my graduation, but to be sorry my kids would never know what a loving amazing person she was. I left with my uncle, while the others stayed behind.

On the drive home, everything seemed slow motion. We drove back to my grandparents' house, and on the way there, I remember being so angry with everyone drinking their coffee and carrying on like their world didn't end. My world was gone. It didn't take long before people began showing up. She was a very well loved person. After about 30 or so guests, my uncle and I asked a close family friend who had been in our lives for ages to hang out and greet some people so we could retreat to the basement and be with our thoughts for a few minutes, and she agreed. As we sat on those stairs, and I watched a grown man cry, most of what I knew about life was changed. The next couple days went by in a blur. People in and out, most I had never met. There was an article on the front page written about her and her contributions to the world. At the same time, I was battling with an inner turmoil. I was so upset. I was merely one year younger than my sister, and therefore a junior when she graduated. I helped plan a huge party for her, stayed through the whole thing, and volunteered to clean it up so she could celebrate with her friends. Through this all, I was told, "next year is your time." The inner child in me wanted to stomp and scream, "I GOT STRAIGHT A'S AND I WILL GRADUATE THIRD IN MY CLASS AND WHAT DO I GET?" But the adult in me was beyond destroyed. I couldn't understand why I kept thinking about myself in this time of tragedy.

At her funeral, we were stopped twice. Once to bring speakers to the parking lot because there were too many guests to fit inside. And again to block part of the street because the guests couldn't fit in the parking lot anymore. It was more than standing room only, showing just how loved she really was by the community around her. Through all of it, the hardest part was walking into her house, smelling her perfume, and knowing she wasn't there. I withdrew, and I stopped talking to anyone. After about a month of this, my good friend sent me a message, and he said, "i'm not going to say it was meant to be, or that she's in a better place. i will tell you it hurts like hell and it isn't fair and that's the way it is." I still have that message, because that was the first time someone talked to me without sugar coating it. It helped me a lot, but the first time I felt like I accepted it was watching the movie, "P.S. I Love You." I watched the spirit of who she loved being with her, and thought to myself it could happen with me. I finally realized she was gone, and never coming back, and that was my breaking point.

Today, it is almost four years later. Her memory still stays with me everywhere I go. People, upon hearing this story, often ask, "Is there anything I can do for you?" Yes, there is. You can learn to love life the way she did. Laugh so hard you snort. Bake cookies for no good reason. Leave the dishes in the sink, and sit outside on a summer night. Stop at yard sales, and bring someone a flower. Love with everything you've got, and don't act in anger. Learn the value of a well-timed hug. Take joy in the small things, and help those who can't help themselves. Love an animal; let them love you. Cry when you need to, and smile when you can. And the most important thing she did, probably without realizing it? She cared. She didn't ask how your day was just to ask. She asked because she cared. And never got tired of hearing it. Listen to those around you, and don't become annoyed with your elders. I took my G-Ma for granted, assuming she'd always be there. She's not, and it took too long to know that.

Rest peacefully, my beautiful angel. 6/9/1947-5/26/2009
LearningToLoveMe LearningToLoveMe
18-21, F
Jan 21, 2013