Focus isn’t a given these days. I’m on a plane as my mind shifts from writing peer reviews, and project proposals towards something else. Please indulge on my procrastination, as I tell you a short story on a flight.
A few rows ahead, sits a sweet old woman. Picture your grandma, I hope it does the trick for you as it does for me. She seats quietly by herself. Her body language shows some signs of nervousness, and who am I’m to judge.. we are on plane flying thousands of meters above Switzerland. Timing is funny, as the waitress interrupts us to bring some chocolate.. maybe the free chocolate would convince my grandma to ever step foot on plane.
Countless moments remind me of Her these days. Kindness. The joy my nephew would bring to her. My family, when we are all together. Prepping egg sandwiches like you did for me so many days. How my older neighbours show affection towards me. Candy, and how caring and careless you were simultaneously for brining a few every morning. People in my life, as I stumble upon imagining how much you would care for them too.
Life moves forward, and it’s been a few years since she passed away. By now, I have no recollection of her voice, but I keep her words. I wonder how good it would feel hearing you telling me that everything was gonna be alright. You were always in a good mood, and iI miss how contagious it felt.
People don’t teach you enough about grief, about how grief works — at least I wasn't taught. Grief is a continuous process, it doesn't go away. Grief sometimes intensifies as all the unexpressed love sits with you.
We never get enough time with each other. We say goodbye everyday not knowing when our last words are being heard. From the thousands of times my grandma and I said it, the last one was the most beautiful. Different than what’s normal to us — although by know I can’t tell what that meant.
We were in her hallway, we hugged for a few seconds — it feels longer as years go by. I think about if often, how on that Wednesday evening we hugged, and said “I love you” to each other. I’ve touched your face with the back of my hand, I can still feel how smooth your skin was… She had tears in her eyes, and so did I. Grandpa was trapped in a failing body, and we were trapped in pain waiting for the inevitable.
Three days later you passed away first, it was tough. We weren't ready, no one is. My reaction took a while to kick in, I guess the chock and inability to cope with emotions left me emotionless. Anger kicked in way sooner that a profound sense of loss. You were kind and strong, I admire you.
A few days after we had your funeral. It was beautiful seeing how many people your kind soul touched. Many paid their respects, said their goodbyes, but our hug on that dark hallway after school was our goodbye. The last time we looked each other in the eyes, the last touch, the last “I love you”.
I miss you.