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My grandmother stares at me with her large doe eyes that haven’t wilted despite her age. Her book is laid in her arms, a book full of what her last words will be. She had planned her death. I want to rip it to shreds, but I know it will hurt her if I destroy it. I don’t know how she expects to have time to say all those words. I don’t tell her, it would break her heart. She deserves to end without pain, in her sleep.

“Mia, “she says, “You know I've been diagnosed with cancer five months ago.”

“Yes.” It’s a whisper, not very audible.

“The treatment isn't working. I’m dying, but I’m happy with my life. My biggest achievement is of having a baby as beautiful as you’re mother and that she would have one as beautiful as you.”

“Grandma . . .” Don’t cry Mia, hold it in Mia. Be strong.

“You’re mother passed away five years ago, but she lives through you. And I intend to do the same.” I hated her acceptance, but I couldn't get my mouth open.

“NO! You are going to live through yourself, Grandma.” A little trickle of tears landed on our clasped hands.

“Your father will be home soon. Take of him.”

“Grandma!” And I realized she had already been through the stages of dying. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. She had blown through the first four stages without me noticing. And now she was on the final one. One step before death.

“Mia, I love your mother, I love your father, I love your grandfather, I love my whole family.” She took deep breaths, gasping, “Mia, I love you.”

“I love—I love you, too.” I couldn't get the words out right, I was strangled. Choking. Her body was here with me, but her soul had left.

I clutch her book, prying it open. She didn't get a chance to say all these words. But then I saw the pages. Endless book of words. All the same words, written over and over. Drawn on the pages so they danced with depth and feeling.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

Grandma, I love you too.




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