I was a sheltered city kid, a complete paradox within itself. Most people think that kids who have grown up in New York have exciting, dangerous lives. I didn't have that kind of life and in many ways, I was grateful.
I liked imagining my life was in a bubble, protected, within reach and unbreakable. However, I knew that this was ridiculous to imagine. But, not being able to protect all my loved ones left me with panic attacks, nightmares and tear-stained cheeks. I liked having them within arms reach at all times. However, if that wasn’t possible I always made sure I said goodbye. I believe in saying goodbye, no matter the circumstances.
I was leaving my second-grade classroom, only turning back to wave goodbye to Mrs. Moratis, and to look around the messy, colorful classroom that I spent so many hours in. Sadly, the next time I would walk into that classroom, my life would be changed forever.
It was right before Christmas. I was waiting for my mom to say goodnight when the home phone rang. My dad picked up the phone with his usual hello. But, the rest of the conversation seemed odd to me. “OK. I’ll tell her, we’ll be down there soon. Stay with him, and I’ll call Paddy [my uncle},” he said. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw the tears in my dad's eyes as he went to relay the message to my mom.
The day after my mom left with my uncle, my dad sat both my sister and I down and told us we were going to meet mom. The car ride was panic triggering and left me envisioning possibilities of what had happened. I can’t remember exactly how but eventually they told me with saddened hearts that my Poppop passed away.
The following week was a blur. Phone calls were made, people quietly cried to each other and many sorrowful “I’m sorry” were thrown at me. I may have only been seven, but I remember feeling as if my world was crumbling around me. How could someone I love be gone? I believed that my grandparents were invincible — nothing and no one could hurt them. However, death could and it did.
I knew that I would have to see him lay pale, lifeless and alone in a coffin in front of a room. To any 7-year-old, the thought would make them change their mind. But I was constantly told as a child to say goodbye, even if you’re angry. The funeral was boring and long, but I felt closure after, something I knew I needed.Over the next few years, I had to, unfortunately, say goodbye to many important people in my life. But, I realized that even though a goodbye may hurt, it will leave you with the closure needed to continue living your own life. I believe that a goodbye is all that is needed to allow a person to continue living after a traumatic experience.