I woke up to the smell of fresh air blowing through my half cracked window. As my eyes opened, I felt a sense of relaxation. It was Saturday, the day I always looked forward to. For as long as I could remember, I always spent it with my grandma. Our days consisted of baking, sewing, and watching every single Disney movie you could think of. She was like my second mother. When I found out she had cancer, my heart broke into two. Our Saturdays together became more and more scarce. She was tired, I was sorrowful, but no matter what, she always had a smile on her face. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that things started to go downhill.
March 27th, the weather was cold enough to make your fingertips go numb. I stepped outside to take a breathe of the cold, brisk air and it suddenly hit me. Today was the day I turned 16. I was so worried about my grandma I had completely forgotten it was my birthday. At this point, my grandma was being treated by Hospice and wasn’t in the best shape. My mom picked me up early from school so I could take my permit test. When I opened the car door, I could see in her eyes that something was wrong. As a tear rolled down her face, she gave me the warmest hug, and said, “Everything is going to be ok, I promise.” After acing the permit test my mom and I immediately went to my grandma’s house. As I opened the door, nothing felt right. My palms started sweating and I became uneasy about taking the next step. I could hear her cough drowning the noise of her breathing machine. My sister, Claire, was sitting next to her as she struggled and gasped for air. I looked at my grandma and grabbed her cold, delicate, wrinkled hand. So many thoughts rushed through my head. Did she know I was there, holding her hand? Did she know today was my birthday? I gave her a big hug and snuggled up next to her. I told her that I just passed my permit test and she moaned. I looked at my mom, and she told me she wasn’t really able to talk, but she was able to understand me. As I was lying next to her, my grandma said, “ Where’s Claire? I want Claire. Who are you?” I remember the feeling I felt when those words came out of her mouth. I couldn’t hold the tears back. I was devastated. Not only did she not remember me, but she wanted my sister instead, or at least that’s what I thought. My mom reassured me that her memory was gone and “Claire” was the easiest thing to say. We later decided to go home and let my grandma get some rest. Around 3:00 AM, my mom woke me up and told me she got a call from my grandpa. It wasn’t good. I immediately jumped out of bed and put on my shoes. The 10 minute car ride over felt like 10 hours. I opened the door and I didn’t hear the sound of her breathing tubes or her coughing. The air felt heavy and I broke down crying. I went up to her room and saw her eyes were closed and her chest wasn’t rising. It was the most peaceful she had ever looked. I grabbed her hand and told her what she had always told me on our Saturdays together, “I love you more than all the stars in the world, and all the fish in the sea.” I left the room so my grandpa wouldn't see the tears rolling down my face. My mom followed me out to make sure I was okay. The fresh memories of my grandma were the bad ones and I just wanted them to get out of my head. She didn’t remember me. How could she not remember me? I just didn’t understand.
My mom reassured me that my grandma knew it was my birthday and waited until I turned 16 to go. She also told me something that I will never forget, “You have to remember people for the good and not the bad.” I had been lucky enough to have 16 years with my beautiful, loving grandma. Two years of sickness will never outweigh 16 years of love. I won't remember the bad times, the times she forgot. I will remember the joy and love she brought into my life because that is all that matters.