March 11, 2018


I remember back to that winter break years ago, when I came home from college and was obsessed with Breaking Bad. It was around five in the morning, I had stayed up all night binge watching season 1. You came rolling out and I already knew that you were about to make oatmeal--your meals are the same, day in and day out. I hear a crash in the kitchen and rushed to see dry oatmeal splattered all over the floor. The can slipped out of your weathered fingers. I looked up and saw the panic rushing to your face. "It's okay! I'll clean it up--no one has to know." Seeing your features soften as quiet relief washed over made me chuckle. In moments like this, you go from being my grandmother to a precious child that I want to fiercely protect.

It's almost a year to date, I remember that morning so vividly. Again, I was up at five in the morning, this time rushing to catch a flight to New York for work. My phone had a flurry of missed calls, texts, and voicemails. I heard you were rushed to the ER, that you were having troubles breathing.

My heart dropped, somersaulted, and flopped to the pit of my stomach. I froze. 

Everything turned out to be fine, no one was worried. False alarm they said, go on your trip. And so I went. A week went by, I went to see you in the hospital as soon as I came home. You were still here. I remember the aunties brushing your hair and testing you, seeing if you could recall our family tree. Annoyed by all the fuss, you just wanted to eat your jello in peace. You even asked for seconds. My heart relaxed.

The second phone call came shortly later. As the words flowed to my ear, I instinctively laughed. There's no way, I just saw her. People aren't just here one second and gone the next. I have never cried more in my whole entire life, I didn't know people were capable of such immense sadness. I cried so much my whole entire being ached, throbbed, and simultaneously went numb. I cried until my insides hollowed, until there was nothing left for me to cry away.

I miss you, today and everyday. I think of you quite often. Oh how I wish I could have met you in your prime, to meet the fiery woman who never let anyone stand in her way. The loyal christian woman who saw a Buddha statue in our cupboards and moved out that night, without telling a single soul. If only I could remember more of the person that you were before you got sick. Before your memory started to leave. Those silent moments we had, I'll always cherish.

I took these roses from your funeral, hung them up to dry. I thought they matched how I felt all of last year--pretty yet sad to look at, may fall apart at any moment. It's the only thing left of you in my possession. I look at them every single day, especially those days that I'm up at five in the morning. For you, I wear these roses, today and forevermore. 

No comments: