I remember the little apartment my mother and I had. It was perfect, some of the best times of my childhood where in that apartment, so many memories. My mother did everything she could for me; working as much as she could just to be sure I had what I needed. I will always be grateful for the amount of love she showers me with. I was always a mama’s girl; she was my go to woman for everything I needed. I’m not sure how long we lived in our little apartment but I do remember not wanting to leave even though we did. We had returned back to the home I had grown to feel so unsafe in, a home that I felt alone and unloved in. For a long time, I hated that my mother had brought me back to our home. We were doing fine in our apartment, on our own; we didn’t need to come back. I hadn’t missed the fighting and yelling at all.
It wasn’t long after we moved back that it all began again, the never ending fighting, and yelling. The chaos that surrounded me began to affect me deeply, and without me even noticing what was happening. I had come to think that all of this was normal, that this is how everyone’s house hold is. People get angry and this is what happens; yelling and screaming at each other is how relationships should be. Yet every time I would go my grandparents’ house I see and feel the complete opposite. My grandparents were like another set of parents to me, especially my grandmother. She filled all the gaps I had in my life, teaching me things my mother didn’t. Showing me that love and family are the most important things in life. When I would see my grandparents together, you could tell how much in love with each other they were. Yeah, they would call each other silly names but at the end of the day the love was always there. They had a respect for each other that I had never seen before. In a way, I looked up to them more than I did my own parents. Everything about their relationship seems right to be. Their home was the only place I felt safe, the only place I could run to when I was afraid. There was often times when I would spend the night with them, they were my favorite nights. We would look through old photos, and grandma would tell me who everyone was. We’d watch Wheel of Fortune; I’d call out letters even though I didn’t know the answer to the puzzle. My grandparents were my saving grace; (whether or not they knew that I don’t know) they showed me what a normal, healthy relationship is. That your house should be filled with light and love. They showed me everything opposite of what I thought to be true. I never understood how my father could be so different from his parents, I later found out why but that is not my story to tell.
I had never experienced death before I was 13 but that would be the age I lost one of the most important people in my life. Such a life changing point in my life; something that still feels me with grief and sadness. In May of 2000, my beloved grandmother would pass away. I was with her the day she had her stroke, I will never forget it. I was at her house, and I knew something was wrong. Something about her was off; she was shaky and didn’t seem to be her normal self. She got a cup of coffee and a cigarette, telling me “this will help me feel better” and me telling her that it won’t help. She told me to call one of my cousins that were a nurse, I did and she came right over. She had told grandma she was having a stroke and she needed to go to the hospital. It is a blur from there; I remember getting to the hospital and her blood pressure being through the roof. She was admitted, I never saw her in hospital room that I remember. The next day I went to see my sister and my other grandma. I spent the night and called my mom on Sunday to see how grandma was doing in the hospital. I remember mom saying “everything is fine, she is doing well” and me knowing it was a lie. I didn’t want to believe myself though, so I didn’t. Mom picked me up and brought me home. I wanted to go see grandma, and she sat me down and told me grandma had passed away. I lost it, my entire world felt like it was caving in around me, what I would do without a woman who had done so much for me. I said I wanted to go see poppy, so my parents took me out there. I saw poppy and gave him the biggest hug I had ever given him before. I could see in his eyes how lost and heartbroken he was. He had lost a woman he had spent most of his life with. It never felt real, like I was living a bad dream that I couldn’t wake up from. Putting grandma to rest was one of the hardest days of my life. Even though I knew her spirit wasn’t very far away, It has never been the same without her.
After the loss of my grandmother I began to see my family that I had loved so much begin to fall apart. We stopped seeing everyone on the holidays, poppy would come over for Christmas instead of everyone going to his house. I never understood the expression “Mothers are the glue that holds a family together” but now I understood it all too clearly. I could see everything I had cherished coming to an end, and it certainly did. I wouldn’t see my family for 12 years; we became strangers to one another.