On this day, last year, I did not know yet that my Grandmother, the woman who raised me, would pass away in four days time. In four days from this day, last year, I will have had to say goodbye to Grams, over the phone, in a hot parking lot, waiting for my dog to come out of the ER. I didn’t think, then, that Brandeh would be gone in four months, too.
Sometime this week, two years ago, I didn’t think that I’d have the courage to leave my partner of six years, for good. Last Wednesday, this year, I thought I was going home to LA to be with Mom for the anniversary of Grandma’s passing. I didn’t know that I’d be going home to say goodbye to my Mother who tells me that she’s moving back to Korea—. We’ve struggled to build a relationship over the last decade. And now, she’s going away.
I wonder what next year will bring. I wonder how much I can take. How many times can a girl lose her mother? How am I going to get through the week? I have no plan, no map. It took me a whole year to even begin crying and now I can’t seem to stop. I’m lost and I haven’t left, yet! There’s this hole in my chest, in my throat. I try to explain & the ocean spills out of my body—
I guess, to say: timing is weird. life is weird. & grief is weird (weird-bad, weird-wrenching, weird-all encompassing)(weird horrible)(weird lonely).
There’s definitely some sort of trajectory to life and the universe and death and so on. There’s even a socially acceptable grace period for grief (before it gets reaaal awkward). But, nobody ever prepares you for the end of these...trajectories. Nothing prepares you for the sudden disappearance, the missing limb, the silence that rushes in and how long it stays; or the odd, unannounced circumstances that trigger memory and ache. Why does marigold yellow remind me of Grams? She didn’t have marigolds nor did she wear the color.
I’ve lost my whole family in the span of one year.
I don’t know how to comprehend that they are no longer material, that I’ll never—
I don’t know if a warning would have helped, or hurt. But I am all alone here, now. And I am not the girl I was last July. I wonder sometimes whether I am real or refracted. I have worked hard to accept many new truths. There is much that I have yet to accept. I play the sound of her breathing—through the pumps and clicks and beeps—in my head everyday.
I do know this: 1. nothing matters more than those you love, who love you back. 2. nothing, even breathing, is guaranteed. I know it sounds like a (shitty) greeting card; but, it’s true. Where did I read that every night, hummingbirds go to sleep and some just never wake up—?
There, there’s your warning.
Forget the shit that doesn’t matter. We are all that we have. Be good and kind and soft to each other, please. I know it isn’t easy. But we have to believe that we are all doing the best we can. If not, what then?
If you’re ever given the opportunity to love, please do so courageously. Go all in. May it unravel you. Let it rearrange you.
& whenever you get the chance, let her sleep in bed with you, throw the ball a little longer, don’t forget to call every Sunday—
& whenever you get the chance, tell them. Tell them again. Show them how much—-