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Death with no Goodbye

Updated: Jan 29, 2023

What does one do with the memories you never get to share? With the words you never got to say? With the ending you never saw coming?

I I lost my granny when I was 17 years old.

She passed away after a sudden brain aneurysm. I still remember the phone call during my evening shift working at McDonald’s. I still remember looking out the window and seeing the ambulance speed by my job and thinking, “aw man my granny is in there”. I remember the frantic texts and calls to figure out who was going to pick me up from work and take me to see her. I remember arriving at the hospital and her being rushed out. The doctors and family were telling her I was there and asking her to squeeze my hand if she could hear me as I walked briskly to keep up with the physicians carrying her out.

I don’t remember the weeks in between or even how long it was after this before she left this Earth. I do remember the love sent from my high school through not only the principal, teachers and staff but my amazing classmates and friends as well. I remember a poster they made that everyone signed to encourage me during my hard time and remind me that they were here for me. You see we were all set to graduate in a few short months yet this moment was clouding the seemingly bright future.

I lost a boyfriend when I was 15 years old. Anfernee “Tuck” Lewis was his name. Amazing soul. He’d shoot your lights out on the basketball court but had such a humble spirit that you couldn’t even be mad at him. A quiet storm he was. Not loud. Not boisterous. Stayed out of trouble despite any temptation around him.

I remember the phone call from his cousin. She told me that he was being rushed to the hospital after collapsing playing basketball. He’d had some heart issues earlier in the school year and had gotten the doctors okay to play ball again. So many questions. Who is with him? Is he responding? What are the ambulance people (yes, ambulance people) saying? What hospital is he going to?

I remember being at my Aunt Lou’s house when I got the call back that he was gone. It was a typical summer day and I had been home since school was out. My grandma had picked me up that morning from home to accompany her to clean her sister’s house. She knew bad news was on the horizon and used this to get me out of the house so that I could be around someone when the news came. I took that devastating phone call on my aunt’s porch right across the street from my granny’s house, never thinking I’d get that same phone call concerning her barely two years later.

But I didn’t get to say I love you I thought. But we stayed up on the phone all last night and I didn’t even say I love you. In fact he made me mad before we got off the phone and he kept asking me if I loved him and I wouldn’t say it because I was pissed. I felt so much shame at this last memory. I kept thinking that if only I had known that would be my last conversation with him I would have uttered those words and so much more. And later when I finally got the chance to speak to my best friend, his cousin, the only words I could render were “what are we going to do?”

Fast forward to the hospital the day my granny passed. I was picked up from a school field trip by my older cousin and no one would tell me what was going on. We got to the hospital where two of my family members were hospitalized and I didn’t know which of the two the bad news would be about. I was asked if I wanted to see my granny and I walked into her room and was relieved. Her chest was still moving up and down. Thank you God. I grabbed her hand and began to talk to her and soon my aunt came alongside me and said “she’s gone.” But wait – her body is still moving I said. She let me know that was only because of the ventilator she was on.

The loud weeping ensued. As I laid there, my body touching hers, I began to scream at the thought of all the missed opportunities. YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO SEE ME GRADUATE! I yelled with tears of disappointment and disbelief. My heart was racing ahead of my thoughts and I simply could not believe the reality before me. She was gone. As I was calmed down and carried out of the room I was soon met by other grandmother. I grabbed her and held her tightly and just began to say “I love you” over and over and over. Yet again- I lost someone and didn’t get to say I love you.

Death with no goodbye. This occurrence is more prevalent in my life than I’d like it to have been. The utter pain that accompanies not being able to have those final moments is one I can’t even describe. All the memories we’ll never have. All the things I felt that I didn’t get to make sure they knew. The regret of not spending more time had I known our time would be so short.

What would graduation day have been like with both Tuck and my granny there? My valedictorian speech wouldn’t have had to include fond memories of Tuck from the past but may have instead been characterized by the nervousness that would have accompanied knowing he was sitting out there in his cap and gown watching. Would he and I have still been together or would we have gone our separate ways by then? Probably wouldn’t have mattered. I would have still been nervous. What would my granny have worn to my graduation? Which hairstyle would she have chosen? Would she cry? What encouraging words would she have said? What jokes would she have cracked? What curfew would she have attempted to impose? Haha

Where would Tuck have gone to college? Would my granny have ridden with my parents to drop me off at college? Would I call her to tell her about all my crazy college experiences? Would she give me advice about the boys? Now, I can only fantasize about these scenarios.

Death with no goodbye. A feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone. The should haves, would haves, and could haves attempt to taunt you day and night. As I continue to work through grief I often find myself laughing through the tears and sweet sweet memories shared. Oh to have one more day with these two. For them to see the 2019 Shell and for us to laugh one final time together.

What does one do with the memories you never get to share? With the words you never got to say? With the ending you never saw coming?

Until next time you two. I hope to see you again.

Rest In Peace.

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