It’s so beautiful and exquisite to exist, to live and to love. It’s beautiful to breathe in and out, to feel someone’s hand in yours. The thought of that ending, being cut so short is a necessary evil, something that comes with the deal. Our time here is limited, it’s short in the grand scheme of things. There isn’t enough time. The roots of a person that have grown so deep in your heart are plucked from you. You lose a flower in the hills of your mind, your garden feels dull.
The flower that I lost was my grandma, my Mamaw. I was 6 years old when she passed away, barely old enough to wrap my mind around what it truly meant to be dead. Dead. Gone. Never coming back. I remember sitting in my aunt’s living room with my family when I was told that she was dead. I remember sweaty palms and biting my lip to try to keep the tears at bay. The short breaths and throaty declarations of comfort felt like I was suffocating. How could my Mamaw be gone when I just spent the night there a week ago?
I was young when I spent my time with her. The memories are cloudy, but the feelings are as present as the rain I see trickling down my window right now. She had these pink, fuzzy slippers that she’d always wear before bed. We’d lay on the pull-out bed and watch Law and Order as my cousin and grandpa slept in the bedroom. The downy sheets and her arms around me lulled me to sleep as I tried to block out the murder mystery scene on the TV. I hate that I didn’t get to spend more time with her and I constantly wish she could see me now. I wish I could talk to her about nursing and how college is going. She was a nurse herself and I’d be lucky to be half the nurse she was. I wonder if she’d like the person I grew to be.
Pictures are the only thing I have now to remember her. I could sit for hours and listen to stories about her, quirks that made her uniquely Laura Dees. I remember what her voice sounds like, I remember her laugh. But as I grow older, those things fade, they dim like the lights before a movie at the theatre. It’s so frustrating to not be able to know her now that I’m adult. Being older, I am starting to realize all the things we never got to do. I never got the chance to tell her how high school was, how much fun prom was and how I think this boy in my class is cute. She never got to see me graduate from high school or college and see me become a nurse.
Although we had countless 'nevers,' we had a few firsts that I will cherish my whole lifetime. I like to think she’s watching over me, smiling proudly at my college endeavors. Every time I pass that little house atop the hill, I smile at the memories of late night snacks and endless imaginations of my childhood. It all stopped making sense when she died. Can we ever go back? Will I get to meet her again at the pearly gates when I’m finished here?
As for now, all I can do is live my life as I’ve been doing for years. When something unexpected happens, I can smile at the momentary bliss that my guardian angel provides. It's so unfair, I want to scream at the top of my lungs and curse whoever is in charge up there. I want answers. I want to know why she had to go, why she never got to meet my brothers or cousins. I want to know why she was so young when she was whisked away from our lives. I want to know why I never got to say goodbye. My blood pumps red, but I feel so cold. On those April nights, I think of her. Just let me hold her hand once more. I miss her and I know her absence left a gaping hole in my family. But there’s hope that one day I will get my flower back.