October 30, 2007
By Hannah Miller, Richmond, VA

“ We need to talk. Something is going on.” Her mother has the door held open, ushering her in.

“What’s wrong?”

“Sit down. Grandma is very sick.” Her heart drops , her palms begin to sweat and tears reach the brim of her eyes. Some slowly escaping. Numbness. Numbness and fear. Her body shakes. Her throat dry, choking her.

“W-what’s wrong with her?” Please tell me she’ll get better.

Gamma in her chair. Little House on the Prairie. Black coffee. Sashie at her feet. Big jelly shoes. Collection of bears and moose. Big floppy hats over her short white hair. Smiling. Being here until she’s 100. That’s the plan. What about the plan? Oh god, she has to be okay. Light pressure on her arm. Can’t feel . Can’t breathe. Scared. Looks at her mother. Pale and shaky.

“Grandma has an infection. They don’t think she’ll live through the week. She doesn’t know who we are.” Arms circling her. Her legs moving. Up the stairs. Face wet. Sobbing.

Fear, fear. She is dying. Losing breath. Can’t see. Choking on tears. Can’t inhale.

Letters. Christmas. Birthdays and holidays. It’s gone. She’s going to be gone. Can’t be right. Just can’t be.
“Hello?” Margie’s voice. She’ll know. “ Hey. What’s really going on?”
Sighing. Tears. This isn’t good. She doesn’t cry. Oh god it’s true. “Gramma is really sick.” More tears. Her voice is cracking. Talking.

“She loves you so much; she would want you to know that.” Uncontrollable tears. Choking. She’s going to fall. She isn’t going to be able to get back up. Her rock is dying. She’s going to float away.

The hugs and the kisses. The sunburn lightly peeling from her nose. Her beautiful handwriting. Her lovely words. Her pet names. Hannah Bell.
“What am I going to do without her? She has been my world for over 10 years Hannah.” More sobbing. More shock. She is the healthy one. How could this be happening?
“ She really has no idea who we are?” “ No, she threw me out of her room saying I was trying to kill her.” Silent tears. Trying to breathe. Take deep breaths.

Arms around her. This isn’t normal. He doesn’t hug. Oh god. She really is dying. No goodbyes. Not a single last “I love you.” Why couldn’t we have one more day? More tears. Darkness. Dreams. Nightmares.
I love you Gamma.

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