I remember being exhausted on the ride home. My friend had to take me home because my dad texted me that he was out. I didn’t really question this because it was New Years and only a couple minutes past midnight. We arrived at my house and thanked my friend's father for the ride. I noticed my mom sitting in the car in the garage. She noticed me as I approached and asked how my night was. I told her it was fun and ran off to bed. I went all the way upstairs to my room to get ready for bed. As I was getting changed my mom called me and my brothers over. I walked into my younger brothers room and sat down on his bed, next to my brother. I remember my mom seeming really upset, I could see her eyes tearing up. I remember her words exactly.
She explained, “After dad dropped you off tonight he got a call from Aunt T that Nana was in the hospital and it wasn’t looking well.” I could feel my throat start to dry up as my vision was getting hazy from the tears building. “He came home and told me that he had to go and he just left. He got there just in time to say his goodbyes, but unfortunately, after being resuscitated three times her heart stopped again, And they were unable to bring her back. The official time of death was at 11:55, December 31, 2017.” My heart sank, I ran out of the room, holding back the tears, and slammed the door shut. This can’t be real, she can’t be gone, I kept thinking to myself. I was pacing in circles, my mind racing 100 miles per hour when I noticed my Ravens hoodie I was wearing that night sitting on the chair. The sight of it brought me to tears as I can remember my grandma handing me the wrapped up gift. I remember the rush of excitement I got when I saw the purple and gold logo. And the joy on her face as I put it on. It was only a week ago. I remember having an eerie feeling that Christmas night and I couldn’t sleep so I went downstairs. All the lights were off, except the guest room, as you can see the glow from around the corner. As I walked closer towards the room I could hear my nana getting ready for bed.
She noticed me as I was passing and questioned, “And what are you still doing up?”
“I couldn’t sleep Mary,” I replied arrogantly. My grandmother was always one for cracking jokes and my brothers and I would always call her by her first name to get back at her.
“You’re no longer my favorite” She joked.
“Yeah Ooook, Well goodnight Nana, I love you.”
“Goodnight, I love you too” She replied. The next morning I woke up really late and My grandparents had already left. As I remembered this sitting in my room, clutching my jacket, my heart sank, “I never said goodbye” I whispered to myself. I sat there on the corner of my bed, jacket in hand, crying.
The next morning I woke up to the sun beaming through the blinds and striking my eyes. I refused to leave my room that morning. I was safe in my room, I was shielded from the harsh realities of the real world. I was not ready to face what has truly happened and was unclear about what the next upcoming days were gonna be like. When I finally decided to emerge from my room, I was immediately met with the support of my brothers. My oldest brother, John, was in Poughkeepsie when he got called by mother and drove home at 1 am in the morning. I could see the bags under his eyes as he was supposed to spend the night there. We sat in the living room of my house and just talked. It was the first time I could remember. My family has always been close but I had never felt such a bond with my brothers before this moment.
The following days after were filled with tears, laughs and old faces I hadn’t seen in years as we prepared for the wake. I had been to many wakes in my life, but never had I been on the other side of it. Being in the short line of people who receive hugs and condolences from relatives. I had never been so affected by a death and this terrified me. I dreaded this, having to stand tall in front of people even though on the inside my heart was beyond repair. I felt almost as if it was my responsibility to buy put together.
As relatives poured into the funeral home I soon felt this responsibility lifted. Not only were we there for my Nana, but we were there for each other too. When tragedy hits, there is an effect it brings about people that is unlike anything else. And as we said our final goodbyes, I could feel that support from everyone in attendance.
Despite the fact that we have said our goodbyes, my Nana is is not gone. I know she is watching over me and my family each and every day. And every time I wear my jacket, I know she is with me.