My Everyday Memory

November 16, 2008
As rays of sunshine peek through my bedroom window, I can do nothing but think of her. I open my curtains, and gaze into the sky. I can see her face look down at me and flash me a warm and comforting smile; almost as if she is telling me that everything is going to be okay. It feels as if she is so close to me, so close that I can almost reach out and touch her hand. I remember everything about her. Her long, blond hair, bubbly and exciting personality, and the way she would look at me, as if I were the most precious thing that she had ever seen. Thinking of her causes a smile to form across my sixteen-year-old face. Yet on the contrary, knowing that I will never see her again disappoints me. It is an unexplainable feeling, one that no one will ever be able to understand. No matter how many times I re-tell the story, the pressing thought that I never got the chance to tell her my last words has changed the way I look at everything.

My aunt passed away on March 22, 2008 from a long and extensive battle with breast cancer. She had been diagnosed with the disease about sixteen years ago, the year in which I was born. My mother felt as if it were important that I knew of her situation, so that I did not find out at the wrong time. She herself knew that she was the best person to explain my aunt’s situation to me, and so she did. When I was about two years old, my mother took me to the park on a Saturday afternoon, a usual tradition that my mother and I had when I was a little girl. I don’t remember much of what was said, but I do, however, remember one thing my mother explained to me. “Show your aunt how much you love her, she loves you very much.” And so I did. My aunt and I were very close; she was like a second mother to me. Every memory I have of my childhood includes her. She would play Legos with me for hours, read me my favorite books, and watch my favorite movies with me. I specifically remember one afternoon I spent with my aunt. I had been begging her to bake a cake with me, because I had just watched a show in which people were baking. She thought that it was a lovely idea and we spent a good amount of time in the kitchen baking a brownie style chocolate cake. I spread the icing on it with delicacy and drew a picture of my aunt and I on the top with the end of a fork. My uncle caught a glimpse of what was occurring in their old, 80’s style kitchen and immediately grabbed his camera to capture the moment in a picture. That picture is still hanging in my room, framed in a handmade picture frame that I put together that same year with my aunt.

The years flew by and my dad’s job got us transferred to a location miles away from my aunt and her family. Leaving them was complicated and hard, but leaving my aunt was almost unbearable. It came as a shock to all of us and my family and I did not come to the realization that leaving would be so difficult and sorrowful. As we said our goodbyes, I came to the realization that I had yet to say my farewell to my aunt. I was only five years old, however, and saying goodbye to someone was not something I was very familiar with. My aunt looked deep into my eyes and held my small hands, conveying a message that letting go for her was just as difficult as it was for me. “I love you”, she said, “I am always a phone call away. And every time you think of me, I will always be with you.” I thought to myself how that could even be possible. Would she simply appear next to me every time I thought of her? I doubted it, but for some odd reason, it made me feel better about saying goodbye.

I took in exactly what my aunt told me, calling her two times a week at the least. She loved to hear about everything going on in my life, and how I was getting through my middle school and high school years. She would tell me stories of her teenage years over the phone, and I immediately related to them, feeling as if no one understood me better than my aunt did. Whether it was school problems, boy troubles, or drama between my friends, my aunt always had an answer. We talked on the phone for hours, time being a pointless factor in the situation. Of course, we would travel over seas to visit my aunt and her family every summer, but seeing her for only two weeks out of three hundred and sixty five days was not enough. Two summers ago, I only saw her twice. That summer was one of her most difficult summers, attending chemotherapy frequently and paying daily visits to her doctor. I was scared to ask her about her situation, or even talk to her about it, although I was well aware of what was going on. I had overheard my grandparents talking about her condition, and I took into consideration that this could very well be the last time I might ever see my aunt. At the end of the summer, we said our goodbyes, once again, and of coarse tears were shed from the both of us. It’s always hard saying good bye to someone, knowing that it could be your last time seeing them. And that’s exactly what it was.

This past March, my aunt’s condition was worst than ever. The cancer had spread all throughout her body, leaving the doctor’s with no possible solution to solve her problem. I cried myself to sleep for weeks after hearing this, repeating in my mind how cruel and unfair life can be. My aunt was the sweetest person I had ever known of, and the thought of her suffering for months, eating her daily meal through a tube, and lying in bed non-stop was unbearable to me. She lost all of her hair throughout the process, the hair in which I used to play with and braid when I was a little girl. I didn’t think that she would ever be able to talk again and the fact that I hadn’t called her in months upset me. I was utterly surprised, however, when my mom knocked on my door one afternoon, telling me that my aunt was on the phone. I was shocked, this news being so unexpected. I explained to my mother that I would come out in a minute to talk to her, until my sister was finished talking to her. As I lightly closed my door, I burst into tears. What was I going to say? I knew that I would have to say my good-bye over the phone, something that I was not ready to do yet. I decided that I would call her tomorrow myself and gather my thoughts together overnight. My mother supported my decision, and spoke with my aunt one more time before hanging up. I woke up late the next afternoon, around one o’ clock or so, ready to talk to my aunt. I walked into the living room, on my way to grab the phone, when I saw my mother, father, and sister crying in the living room. My aunt had passed away that morning.

To this day, I still have the paper folded up in my room of what I was going to tell my aunt. She had explained to me that if I ever thought of her, she would be with me, and I needed to tell her that even if she didn’t realize it, she had been with me every day of my life. There wasn’t one day that I didn’t think about her, and I still caress her words deep inside my heart. I am angry at myself for not grabbing the phone from my mother that day, to speak with my aunt for the last time. I feel the need to apologize to her, apologize for not being able to tell her three simple words, “I love you”. As I look out my window today, I can do nothing but see her face in the sky above. I know that she is always looking down at me, flashing me her beautiful and caring smile. Although she may have disappeared from everyone’s life, she will always be present in mine. I hold her words close to my heart, and remember them every day when I think of her. She even said it herself, “Every time you think of me, I will always be with you.” I think of my aunt every day, therefore, she is always with me.

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