Six Years Later, I’m Still Saying Goodbye

I never remember the exact date on the calendar. I said goodbye to my grandmother earlier than February 18, so the date never stands out in my mind. But somehow, six years have passed since she died, and I’m still not over it. Does grief ever go away?

I was sitting on a couch in our apartment in Lynnwood when I got the news of her stroke, that she had spent hours and hours lying on the floor of her house, crying “help,” but no one could help her. My grandfather was bedridden and could not get to a phone. Their morning home health aid had done nothing when no one answered the door, and it wasn’t until their evening aid came and no one answered the door that an ambulance was called. It was too late. Any intervention was useless, and she survived a few more months, long enough to say goodbye to my grandfather and to spend time with her son and daughter. The last thing she did before her stroke was make her bed, which is what I think of every damn time I make mine.

There is no justice and frankly, most of the time I believe there is no God, because how could anything good exist when the best, kindest woman in the world was left alone for hours, crying “help”?

I was sitting on the couch at my in-laws house that February when my mom called to say she has passed away in her sleep with both of her children beside her. I mutely drove to my parents house so my sister wouldn’t be alone after receiving the news, and we watched a documentary about volcanos on PBS.

Almost exactly three years after my grandmother died, my son was born. An infant is pure goodness, innocent and unscarred. The cosmic timing wasn’t lost on me, that at the same time we mourned, we now had something to celebrate.

I don’t know how to protect my son from this terrible, awful world. I take him to church, hoping that some day I will believe again in something powerful and good, and hoping that he believes it, at least for a little while.



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