Bear Hugs

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"Wake up birthday girl!" My dad said quietly as he woke up his "sweet pea". The minute I opened my eyes I remembered that today was my seventh birthday. I anxiously jumped out of bed and threw on my jean capries with my yellow flowered shirt and my sunflower flip-flops, the ones I hated when my mom first bought them because I was embarrassed by the huge plastic sunflowers between the big toes. I knew my grandma was going to be at my house bright and early to pick me up since it was tradition for us to spend the whole day together. I rushed downstairs, ate breakfast, and my parents tried to occupy me by giving me my birthday presents. They got me new spring outfits and the typical "Happy Birthday to the Greatest Daughter in the Whole Wide World" birthday card. An hour and thirty minutes after I woke up and there was still no sign of my grandma. I knew my parents were hiding something from me because every time I asked, "where's gram?" they'd change the subject or quickly reply, "she should be here soon."

Two hours after I woke up, my grandma was still not at my house. She hadn't even called to wish me a happy birthday. For the tenth time that day I asked my parents "where's gram?" Finally, this time I got an answer other than "she should be here soon, pumpkin." However, once I got the answer I regretted wanting to know. "She is not feeling well," my dad explained, "she had to go through chemo this morning and does not have the energy to go shopping." Panicking, I asked my dad "what's chemo? Why did the doctor do that to her on my birthday?" As calmly as he could, my dad told me that my gram has cancer and that she will need to go through chemo in order for the doctor to "fix her". Immediately, tears streamed down my face. I already knew the consequences of cancer. My focus suddenly changed from waiting for my grandma to come pick me up to hoping my grandma's life wasn't taken away from her while I was still young.

From that day forward I cherished every moment I had with her. She would try to take me out whenever she could. Despite all her pain, she would always put a smile on her face when she saw me. As years and months passed, my grandma's condition only worsened. On my birthdays came around she was never able to take me out like she used to. Instead of her coming to me, I would sit beside her bed keeping her company. Since she told me that the bear hugs I gave her would make her better, I would hug her every chance I got. "BEAR HUG!!" she would say every time I saw her. Whenever her condition improved she would say, "the doctor said those bear hugs are working, Joce!" or if they got worse, "the doctor says you need to start giving me more bear hugs!" However, when her condition started to get unbearable, when I wasn't even able to give her bear hugs anymore, I became scared to see her. Every time my parents asked me if I wanted to go see gram, say I had too much school work or a big test I had to study for, but the truth was, I was scared to see her in fear of having to say goodbye.

Right before my eighth birthday, gram's life was taken away from her, and I didn't know how to handle it. Whether I remembering our shopping sprees or how she taught me how to stretch in my jeans after they came out of the dryer so they wouldn’t be tight, I will always remember my gram for the joy she brought into my life. I only regret that I didn't say goodbye to her, because I miss her more than ever.





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