Gone but not Forgotten

"How are you today Grandma? Are the doctors treating you well?" I ask, a false smile plastered on my face. "School was hard today. I took my Chemistry test. You know, the one that I was telling you about before? Well, I'm pretty sure I failed but, don't tell my parent's. They'll kill me."
I pause, hearing the sounds of the hospital machines whirring and clicking around me. I glance at her heart monitor, watching the line fluctuate weakly.
I look down at her, brushing her hair away from her face, smiling sadly. "Grandma, I need to go, the doctor's only giving me five minutes of visiting time today." I roll my eyes, "You know how it is."
I bend down, brushing my lips over her cool, damp cheek, my tears finally spilling over. I bit my lip and grip her hand in mine. "I'll be back tomorrow okay Grandma? Just wait for me until I come."
I close my eyes, trying to stop the tears from cascading down my cheeks, and force a smile. "I'm sorry for crying Grandma. I know how you hate to see me cry. Don't worry about me okay? Just do your best to get better so we can go to that place you wanted to visit. Okay Grandma?" I wrap my pinkie around hers in a promise.
My gaze flits up to her face, slightly blurred through my tears. Her eyes, still shut, make an attempt to open as her mouth opens as to say something.
I lean in close, hope bubbling in my chest. "Yes Grandma? Do you want to tell me something?"
Her mouth flails around the tube, trying to formulate the words she wants to say. She tires quickly, her already weak body draining, forgoing any attempt of speaking.
I pull away, sadness washing over me. "That's okay Grandma," I tell her. "You can just tell me tomorrow okay? I love you." I squeeze her hand one last time and loosen my grip. Before I can let go she squeezes back, clenching my hand tightly.
My mouth curves into a smile. "Thank you Grandma. Thank you for giving me a sign," I whisper, slipping my hand out of hers after she releases her grip.

I get on the bus, picking a seat closest to the driver and clear of any passengers in this section. As the engine revs up, the familiar sound of the driver pulling away from the stop. I stare out the window, absorbed in my own thoughts. I wonder how Grandma is doing today? Will she grasp my hand today as she did yesterday? That's proof right? Proof that she's still in there and conscientious of her surroundings? It's proof that she can still pull through right?
Suddenly, a strange feeling strikes my chest. A devoid feeling of emptiness and tragic despair. I gasp, the pain and numbness almost overwhelming. In my reflection I see something falling down my cheek. I raise a trembling hand and touch my face, feeling moisture on my fingertips.
I glance clock above the drivers head and mind the time. Three on the dot.

The door whishes open, admitting me to the ICU. I approach the reception desk to check in but, before I can say a word, the nurse on duty bids me to wait for the doctor. She makes a phone call and, a few minutes later, the main doctor on duty approaches me, expression grim.
"I'm sorry to inform you of this," he begins, "But your Grandmother, as you knew, had an abnormally large amount of water in her lungs. We did all that we could but, at three this afternoon she-"
"I know," I interrupt him before he could finish.
She was gone.





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