In a few hours it will be the 17th anniversary of the saddest day of my life. On February 14, 1993, when I was 17, my grandma passed away. You would think after all these years, this day would be easier for me. It is not. Normally the tears begin when I wake up on Valentine’s Day, but this year they have started early.
Every year, I write a letter to my grandma in hopes that it will enable me to finally say goodbye. Every year I try and do something in order to honour her memory, praying that I can finally let go of all the pain surrounding this horrendous day. And every year, it fails miserably.
I don’t know why I can’t say goodbye. Maybe it is because I was the only family member who was not allowed to see her for the final year of her life. I was in foster care and while my mother still allowed my sister to visit grandma whenever she wanted to, my mom was telling everyone I was dead and I was not welcomed. The last time I had seen my grandma was when I tried to come home on my 16th birthday and my mom wouldn’t even let me past the front door. I was the only family member not present at the time of her death. My sister was lucky enough to be sleeping with her when she died (even so she would have nightmares about it for years). I however, received a very cold phone call hours after her death as I was about to leave for my morning wardrobe and make-up call. It was the opening weekend of a musical I was in (South Pacific) and if it were not for finding out that the last things grandma said before she went into her final coma was how proud she was of me for my dancing and acting, and a wonderful and supportive cast and crew, I don’t think I would have made it through the day.
Maybe because it is 17 years later and my grandma is still not buried. I have no where physical that I can visit her. My mother still carries her ashes around and for a million reasons I am not going to get into, I have no where to visit my grandma besides in my mind. My brain tells me that should be enough but my heart aches over this.
Maybe it is because I have nothing tangible of my grandma’s that I can look at or hold on to on the days that I really miss her (which is often). There were a lot of things that were written into her Will that I was to receive and because my mom was the Executor, I received none of it. Again my brain tells me these things do not matter as my grandma left me with such a wonderful legacy but then why am I sitting here in tears unable to breathe? Why am I unable to find closure?
My grandma was the most amazing woman anyone could have ever met. I would not be the person I am today if it were not for her. She made sure that I always knew I was important and that I was a good person regardless of what my mother would say. She made sure that I knew I was loved. She made sure to take time for me to teach me things I would never know despite her being chronically ill and hooked up to oxygen for all of my life. She made sure to let me know she was proud of my accomplishments and was the only person who allowed me to be flawed. She taught me invaluable lessons about how to live with chronic illness. Lessons that had I not learned, I think my Lupus would have destroyed me years ago because I wouldn’t know how to fight it, find the positives in it and how to try and be a model for others.
I really wish I had had the chance to say goodbye to her in person. I really wish I could hear her voice one more time. I really wish I could find a way to be okay with all the hurt surrounding her death. They say time heals all wounds but I think there are some wounds that never heal, you just get better at concealing them. I just want the pain to end. What I wouldn’t do to just have 5 more minutes with her so that I could thank for all that she did and tell her one final time that I love her. That is all I wanted to do before she died, was to let her know how much she was appreciated (because everyone else would just take from her) and to let her know how much I loved her. And I couldn’t. And that kills me. I feel that I have been robbed from something and I don’t know how to make the hurting stop. I wish…
You’d think after 17 years I could say goodbye…