July 30th, 1999

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Today I am eighteen.

I should be excited about becoming an 'adult' but all I feel is sadness. Fifteen days ago my grandmother passed away - my first experience with losing a loved one. When I grow up I will realize how well I handled it but now all I can think is how sad I am that things will change. Holiday's will feel a bit emptier, a little less laughter in the room.

My entire family has spent the past month with her at the hospital. She was sick but we didn't know how bad it was. Still feisty enough to correct me while I did her hair and makeup, maybe I was in denial. At the very end we gathered with her in ICU. Despite being unconscious and on a ventilator, I believe she waited for my Mom to 'take a break' before beginning her descent. I stood there holding her right hand as machines beeped and nurses buzzed in and out, watching the little squiggly line on the heart rate monitor get smaller and smaller until it was no more.  And I held my breath as she took her last. I looked at her through my tears and then down to my feet. I realized what I was wearing - a boyfriend's college sweatpants, an American Eagle t-shirt - and wasn't sure if it was appropriate attire for such a huge moment in life. Little do I know that eleven years later I still won't bring myself to part with those items.

Eight months later, my grandfather will die of a broken heart. I will repeat the same routine and hold his left hand while he greets her again in Heaven. I like to think I'm between the two of them sometimes. When I struggle, I think of them guiding me, gently leading me to a calmer path. When I'm excited, I think of the 3 of us holding hands, jumping up and down like children. When I hear a series of beeps like a fast food fryer or a truck in reverse I'm transported back to those two moments but I smile through a tinge of sadness. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

It was an honor.

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