Monday, July 1, 2013

It all comes flooding back...

This past Saturday while I was at work, one of our customers came in and brought her elder aunt for shopping. She was a 92 year old lady who lived in the same apartment building that my Grandma used to live in. She came in, and I greeted her as I would normally do. She needed some help up two steps as she passed through the stores, so I grabbed her hand to help her with her balance. When she grabbed my hand, my whole body froze. Her hand felt just like my grandma's hand. I had to let go because I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. But I hid it. I continued on to show her the clothes and some possible outfits to match a jacket she was buying. Everything she was saying - the way that she said it - reminded me of my Grandma. Everything.

(The day of her funeral)

In that split second when she grabbed my hand, it was like that whole part of my life came flooding back. In my mind, the floor caved in beneath me and I was falling, falling down into that parallel universe. Going backwards and backwards in time.. My healing slowly falling apart.

I pictured her soft hand in the grave, grasping onto my letter, grasping on to Maya's umbilical cord talisman that I put in there - which I asked her to protect forever.
Me standing there, crying, as everyone had left. "We can't just leave her here.." I said to Maddy.
Throwing the sand over her casket. Throwing the rose.
The long drive there. Eagles, eagles everywhere.
The church, the incense all around us.
Us in her room, waiting for her to die. Maya crawling on the floor beneath her. She had just started to crawl.

(My favorite picture of her)

Grief is a strange thing. It never really goes away. You are never really healed. Time buries that part of yourself and grass grows over it, but it is still there. That day, I missed her just as much as if I lost her yesterday.

I forgot about it. Her face started to fade. All the things I used to know - the soft wrinkled skin, her green eyes, her laugh, her smell...I started to forget about it. Life went on full speed ahead, and she faded into the sunset like a sun dipping into the horizon. I didn't even notice that I forgot. It happened so quietly.

I remember the day that we realized that she was really going to die. We always doubted it, we always thought about that 1% chance that she would turn it around. 

It was when she completely stopped eating. They said it would be 3-5 days after that. On the third day, It really kicked it that there was no turning back. That it was really happening. Every moment was so panicked. Every second she breathed in, we watched so closely if that was going to be her last breath. I scrambled...I had to tell her. She couldn't go without me telling her how much I loved her. How much she had affected me. I read her what I wrote, she squeezed my hand, and I whispered in her ear, "You can go now, Grandma". Because as much as I wanted her to stay, I knew she was ready to go.

I can't believe it was only 6 months ago, almost to the day. Maya's walking now. She's walking.

I wonder how many moments there will be like this, when something will happen, and I will be immediately transported to that place. When something random happens, and reminds me of her, and she immediately comes back to me as if she's standing right in front of me.

(Her watching over me)



  1. Hello Alexandra, I so empathise with how you feel. Just stumbled on your blog. This piece is so poignant. I lost my aunt in 2008, and though it's been a while in terms of years, like you say, there are those moments when it all comes crashing into you like a ton of bricks. Take care, Maya

    1. Thanks Maya. It is so true, sometimes you're okay, and sometimes it's just like yesterday that you lost them.


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