This past weekend marked the one year of your passing. The 23rd to be exact. I remember waiting a few days before for the call. I knew it was soon, but I didn't want to believe. You were invincible. The lady who had survived everything you could think of, six kids, more grandkids than one should have. People thought you were supposed to be gone multiple times in the past few years after so many scares. And yet, at the old age of 96 damn years old, I still didn't believe it was possible.
"Hello" by Adele came out that same day. I had it on repeat, singing along way before I knew you had left us. My sister called in tears and suddenly the song took on a new meaning. It discusses nostalgia and regret, which is exactly what I felt. I couldn't see you before I left for school that summer because I didn't want that to be my last image of you. I couldn't see you hurt. I wanted to remember the woman who always made sure her hair was perfect and had red lipstick on (literally before she went in for knee replacement surgey a few years back, she asked for the items). I wanted to remember the one who had wine in her hand and pearls on her neck. I couldn't bare to think you weren't your actual self anymore.
While we've had a hell of a year down here, I hope you're up in Heaven (she was a devout Catholic) with all your friends who passed before you, but most of all, I hope you're with Gack. Sitting around drinking with cigars in hands playing cards like how you used to. I swear you two were the couple of the century. I don't remember much of him as I was only 5 or 6 when he passed, but from the stories you told of the parties, summer vacations to the lake and the trips around the world, I can only aspire to have a love like that. I struggle with boys now and feel it'll never happen, but I'm holding out hope because you've always said to never give up. Even if it was about getting into my dream school or when I broke the family tradition and went to an arts high school, you always believed in me.
I wear the beautiful bracelet you gave me on my 18th birthday, even when it doesn't match whatever I wear. It makes me feel closer to you, like you're still cheering me on in whatever I do because I need that sometimes. You still put me in my place when I need it and support me when it's the right time. I feel your presence with me, even as strange as it sounds. And I don't want to ever let that go.
Even with "Hello" as a break-up or a reconciliation with yourself, I still hear it, "Hello from the other side" and think of you. You always said to do what made you happiest and I hope I continue to make you proud.