As I sit in Ottawa International Airport, about to embark upon a solo journey, I can't help but think of the last time I was here. Was it only a year ago my family and mother's parents hopped on a plane and flew away on a tropical destination?
Cancer is as unforgiving as these hard seats and their sweaty pleather. Three and a half years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with it. With the diagnosis came fear, but also faith and strength. My grandmother was never a quitter.
A year ago I stared into the turquoise of the Carribean with her. This year she sits in paradise alone.
It's terribly incredible how fast the disease changes pace. Faster even than the spinning wheels of the planes as they kiss the ground goodbye.
I was able to kiss her goodbye. I tell people when they ask how I am, I was lucky. I got to say goodbye. I knew someone so great, I fear I'll never meet someone who can compare. I got to have her beautiful life as a gift in my own.
I wonder what words she would have gifted me throughout the rest of my life. I wonder what she would have to say about my someday husband, what she would say to me on my wedding day, on the day my first child is born.
Most of all, I'm upset that someday, the people I care most about will have nothing but a few photographs and my poor word choice to know her.
They can only know her though me, through those of us who she left behind. I'm keeping her words in a chest in my heart. I hope the wood becomes smooth from constant use. Every year I will make her strawberry shortcake, although it will never compare. I will adorn my house with expansive decoration at every holiday. I will wear ridiculous earrings.
I will live my life in my own way, but I will carry her along with me and I will try my best to make her proud. I will find her at every baggage claim throughout my life. If I ever lose her, I'll lose myself too.