The Final Departure

April 17, 2018
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She walked effortlessly, like a breeze in the wind, clenching on every so tightly to the warm, crisp touch of her grandmother’s hand. Disobedient to the cold bitter snowfall Winter had so graciously given them. Snowflakes descending from the grey, dull sky above fell rapidly, yet peacefully. Where they arranged themselves on the ground ever so beautifully. The dead, frozen ground lay quiet until the pair strolled slightly across the snow, initiating a distinctive crunching sound. The crunch was like music to her ears, with every step indenting the snow with a trade-mark footprint being left behind only to be recreated seconds later. Upon their arrival to the pro-digious facade, a stiff man greets them with a gentle smile and a firm “Hello.” The man swiftly opened the door as the warmth and music from inside swooshed across their faces, wiping the cold from off their bodies. This comfortability evoked a passionate memory, getting those tight, loving, bear-hugs she regularly gets from her grandmother. Still linking arms, the two made their way over to the elevator, eagerly waiting for the doors to slide open. When suddenly, they open, as an expression of relief fell upon their faces. The young girl secretly glanced at her grandmoth-er, which to her surprise, was already looking back. She grinned from ear to ear, saying “I love you,” and her grandmother repeated it without hesitation. The two loved each other, best friends to say the least. Man says “dogs are a man’s best friend,” and while the young girl was no man, it was evident these two were meant for each other, no dog necessary. They shared the best gift life could offer. Love.


The girl grew up attached to her grandmother, she didn’t know any different. Rushing di-rectly to the train station to catch the 3:00 train to Manhattan every day merely to see her grand-mother’s face and be in her company. On bright, yellow sunny days, where the sun hit the build-ing, reflecting into the park in front, the two lay together sightseeing what God had created. Conversing and laughing as if there were no tomorrow. Only departing when that daily call from mom came in, telling the girl it was time to come home, and get ready for bed. When Winter storms continued, outside was unbearable, with snow that reached your calves, the two chatted over the phone for hours, enjoying each other’s company inside the delightful environment of the grandmother’s penthouse. But things wouldn’t always be so simple and carefree for these two.


Things took a drastic turn when the girl grew into an adventurous teenager. Her parents decided to move across the country a torturous 2,000 plus miles, forever separated from the one person who she ever truly connected and so desperately needed. To her favor, the teen and her family came back often, very often. Every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, and summer. The two went everywhere together, they even went to Australia. She looked forward to that trip back East every time, completely forgetting the fact that it was a six-hour travel time. After an enduring flight, she could practically taste the sauce from her grandmother’s homemade fettuci-ne. Upon their arrival, she sprinted through the busy, sardine packed airport, waiting to see the familiar face of her grandmother. Her grandmother spotted by the girl, with her brown, tenacious eye, beaming with a light that can only be described as pure love and joy. The feeling was mutu-al, as the grandmother’s eyes were lit bright in awe of her granddaughter. Reuniting after several months, the two were drowning in emotions. Trying to conceal her tears, the girl swooped her arms around the fragile body of her grandmother. The reunion sparked tears and memories the two had once shared. Throughout every trip, the two remained fascinated with each other’s pre-sent, content they were together. The next morning, the girl awoke to nostalgia of happiness and reminded the girl of home. After an immense breakfast which the grandmother so happily pre-pared, the two set out for their routine adventures. Roaming past the sweet smell of “Mel’s Bak-ery,” sifting through the snow beneath their feet, the pair stopped, and appreciated the snowfall from above, where a sense of pure tranquility took over. This is how the visits would go, and to them, it was all they need. In their eyes, this was perfect.


Although the two were separated by thousands of miles for the majority of the time, whenever they reconnected, everything in the world was in its place. This last Christmas they spent together was without a doubt the greatest one they had spent together. But whilst in each other’s company, the girl noticed something. The grandmother was not herself, she was quiet, and always cold. She was distant, something new the girl was unfamiliar with, especially from her grandmother. With great caution and worry, her grandmother finally revealed she had been battling cancer for over a year. The girl immediately broke down, asking God, “why her, why me?” By Spring Break, while still fighting numerous diseases, she seemed applicable to start traveling again. The girl could not fathom the thought of her grandmother coming to Arizona and spend time with her. While the grandmother had her own separate room, specifically for her, she chose to sleep with her granddaughter every night. The two laid close, cuddling together for warmth and comfort, while waiting for the nightly forehead kiss from her grandmother. She ex-pected every visit to be like this, and she expected nothing more, nothing less. She adored the thought of spending time with her spontaneous grandmother. When the time came for her grandmother to head back to New York, the pair hugged compassionately, as if were the last time they would see each other again. The last time they would go on an adventure together. Tears were shed, words were said, and promises of frequent visits were made. The two stayed close until the grandmother headed towards security, kissing her granddaughter on the forehead one last time before the next trip. The girl slowly separated from her grandmother’s arms, looked into her eyes, tears falling from her eyes, waving goodbye, and watched as the grandmother walked along.


Good news quickly spread to the girl’s family that the grandmother had gone into remis-sion and her cancer was gone. At least for a little while. In the months following, the family re-ceived numerous calls saying how wonderfully the grandmother was doing. Until a concerning call came in, informing them that her cancer had returned, only this time, more aggressive than ever. In what seemed to be the worst time of her entire life, the numerous weeks and months leading up to June, the girl suffered immensely. Knowing her grandmother only had a short time on this planet left, depression quickly fell upon her, filling her with sadness, a feeling that would not let her feel joy or be able to cope with what her life had now become. A slew of calls came in within days of hearing the news of her cancer coming back, many closer to her grandmother put in perspective that she was dying, and would not last to next December. The family, frozen in disbelief, was baffled. How did all of this happen so quickly? In the last six months of this glori-ous woman’s life, the girl denied the fact that her grandmother was sick, and in a short time, would no longer be in her life. While she would never forget her grandmother, she would miss the nightly calls her and her grandmother shared. She called every day and every night, to make sure her grandmother knew she was never alone, and would never be. Trembling with fear, her grandmother told her not to fret and that everything was going to be fine. She kept repeating “everything happens for a reason,” yet the girl couldn’t seem to find a reason as to why her grandmother was dying. The girl’s sixteenth birthday was fast approaching, a milestone in a girl’s world, the birthday they look forward to. This signified her grandmother would be coming in very shortly. On a hot, humid Arizona afternoon, her family received a call, a call that would for-ever shatter her world. Her mother out the call on speaker, and she could hear the fear and shaki-ness in her uncle’s voice. Stuttering to get words out, the girl knew exactly what words were to come next. The girl tumbled to the ground, as if her heart was just ripped out of her chest. She began sobbing, and in shock of what news she just received, she started to hyperventilate and couldn’t believe what she just heard. For the week her grandmother planned to make the trip to Arizona, the two planned out their entire week together. They had adventures planned, but un-fortunately, the world had other plans. Plans the girl was not upbeat about.


The days and month directly following the death of her beloved grandmother took a tre-mendous told on the girl. She stayed inside her room, barely talked to anyone, and kept to her-self. Unwillingly, her and her family traveled back to a place where she once felt pleasant, was now to never be the same. She felt as those her heart had a chunk missing, and that chunk was her grandmother and her love. Silently and regretfully making their way to her vacant condomin-ium, silence spread across the family. The air was till as they made the everlasting trip to the 27th floor, as if they had no reason to be joyful. The sunshine was dimmer that day, the girl couldn’t find a reason to smile, she couldn’t even speak. The elevator doors open, and a flood of emotions fell upon the girl. She held back her tears as long as possible, but a recent picture of the two was in sight, which provoked tears. She could hear the voice of her grandmother, her touch, her love. She could feel the love on the room her grandmother had and left for them, nothing now but a peachy memory.






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