It’s amazing what each individual would consider a loss.
I couldn’t tell you the last time I felt sad because I lost someone. Except, now that I’m writing this I think about my paternal grandmother.
I barely knew her. I didn’t grow up with her like my cousins did, but I met (actually met and remembered her) when I returned to the United States in 2004 or 2005 (summer before the start of fifth grade). However, I didn’t really build a bond with her until I was in high school and returned to New York for freshman year.
I remember every time I visit and left she would always give me money as I was heading out. I don’t know why? The money she had was the money she received from the government but I guess that was her way of sending me on my way, because it didn’t matter if you told her no or tried to return it to her she would shove it in your hand and push you away.
She was the sweetest old lady you could ever ask for a grandmother. I remember when she would just stand by the window at all hours and just people watch. I remember when she decided to try to learn English in her late 70s/ early 80s. I remember how she would always make us oatmeal with toasted bread while my cousin and I gamed all day just so we could eat something.
I specifically remember going out to grab breakfast with my boyfriend at that time like we did any other time we were off and receiving a call from my cousin in Massachusetts letting me know she had become seriously ill and that the doctors advised she didn’t have much time.
I remember I could barely respond, but somehow tears came pouring out of my eyes and I managed to say I would ask to leave the same day. I remember hanging up and crying so hard without making any sound. I remember my boyfriend finished ordering and when he looked towards my direction was surprised and asked me what happened. He immediately rushed me back to my room and handled my time off request while I packed. I couldn’t even eat the food he bought.
I remember sitting waiting for the approval when I got the second call from my cousin, telling me she was gone. January 4. My cousin’s own birthday. Instead of celebrating it, she spent it at the hospital with our grandma.
I drove 16 hours straight. Only stopped for gas and used the restroom when filling up.
I was fine though, when I arrived. No words were really said. The funeral was planned so quickly because my uncles were sending her home (Dominican Republic) where she would be buried with her other sons.
Funeral day came and everyone was there. All the cousins you didn’t know where still in the United States. The brother and sister you didn’t know had been granted access to come to the United States. It was a family reunion.
We were all okay though. The proceedings began and everything was said and done. Then they played the video my cousin made. I remember breaking down so hard. I never cried that hard before that day.
I never knew how much I had shared with her until that video displayed all the birthdays and random photos we shared. It was so hard to see my cousins cry just as hard because she was always there with us while our parents worked all day and played all night.
It’s amazing how we never know what we have or had until it’s gone.
The bad thing is that I began this story tonight to talk about my recent loss of someone I thought was my friend. Yet, I was reminded of my grandma who was truly my first real loss in this life. Others before her, I did not love nor cherish.
This person I thought was my friend. A special friend as I told him a few times. He knew my story, not in full detail but he knew enough to understand somewhat of what I was dealing with and had delt with. Why I had quit my job as abruptly as I did. He showed up when no one did. He didn’t give up on me when I would ghost him or simply cut everyone off.
But I learned over the last month and a half that it wasn’t a true friendship like I thought, because when I returned to that dark place and stopped all communications with everyone. He gave up on me. When I finally reached out, I received no response.
A month and a half later: no response.
I am glad to know that as I switched to talking about this second loss, which I actually felt some guilt of, I stopped crying. So maybe it wasn’t as important as my grandma’s loss or maybe it just hadn’t been time tested like my relationship with her had.
Now I know. Now I move forward. Now I’ll never think of you. Goodbye.