My grandma was my best friend. We spoke each and every day, I’d surprise here by coming over when she thought I was hanging in my dorm room, she gave me advice whenever I needed it.
And that’s why it stung so bad, worse than the bee stings that could literally kill me, when the doctor said she had stage four lung cancer. I was the only other person besides my grandma in the room when the doctor broke the news. A botched biopsy ended up bringing my grandma to her wits end, supposedly becoming a nusance to her doctors and nurses who insisted she be put in a medically induced coma until she became less problematic. And a couple days later, she was gone.
I was crushed. I still am. Regrettably, as the last person to speak to her when she was coherent, I never said “I love you” but “see you tomorrow, Gmac” because I assumed I’d see her the next day. Man, did I assume wrong. This is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I’ve had nightmares, where she would ask why I didn’t say it back. The evening of November 13, after saying goodbye and begging her to wake up, I collapsed on the hospital floor upon coming out of her room of the CCU, threatened by surrounding medical professionals that I’d be admitted if I didn’t calm down.
In the ensuing weeks of cleaning out my grandmas apartment, I watched her belongings being snatched left and right by family members claiming them as their own. But for me, I was at school when this was happening, so what did I get left with? Pain & pills. My parents consulted my doctor who prescribed me anti-depressants to deal with the loss of my grandma, transforming me into someone I don’t even know.
I have nothing to remember my grandma by except for pictures and memories etched into my brain. I wasn’t left anything specifically, nor did my uncle (her next-of-kin) decide that the one person who was at her bedside each and everyday would be given something once valuable to my best friend. And I’m biter.
Biter because of all the people who deserved something to remember her by, I was left with regret, depression, and whatever my brain could salvage. Her only grandkid (besides my little brother) who consistently and constantly made an effort to see her, speak to her, love her and appreciate her was left with nothing.
Don’t get me wrong, I am forever greatful for all the memories I was able to create with my grandma. I could go on and on with private things we shared together, detailing everything about the setting of our talks whether it be her round kitchen table or spread out across her massive bed, the brogue she had from her immigration fro Ireland, the way she would fix her tea before sitting down to talk. I’m lucky I have several voicemails saved from her, saying things “I love you” and praying that she hears me when I say it back this time. I guess I just felt forgotten, of no importance. Next to my parents and brothers, she was the person I would go to bat for each and every fucking time — even if she was dead wrong.
My grandma was the glue that kept my family together. She was the one who made sure that we all got together every now and again, and without her — we don’t have that anymore. My life without her has been some of the toughest years of my life, constantly wondering and hoping that she’d be proud of the person I am and will continue to be.
I guess the point of this blog is to not take your grandparents for granted if you’re so lucky to still have them in your life. Say I love you everyday, because you never know when the last time will be.
**Disclaimer: this was edited during a complete meltdown, so please excuse any errors.**