Yesterday was October 4th. That means it has been 18 years since my Bubby passed away. WOW! It's crazy to think that more time in my life has passed since her death than had passed when she died. (I was 17.)
It was September 4th and I had just started my senior year at Northeast, literally just started....that day. I came home from school and my mom and her boyfriend were out. They were on a 'staycation' and were just taking day trips in and around the city. My aunt called and desperately needed to speak to my mom; she was frantic. I knew something was up but she wouldn't tell me anything. I had no idea when my mom would be home and started to get nervous. Luckily, my mom's boyfriend had to use the bathroom and they stopped home before heading to the movies. I gave my mom the message and she called my aunt. Everything changed with that phone call.
Just minutes later I was in the car, without shoes on, waiting to drive to Atlantic City. My Bubby was in the hospital, in a coma, and it didn't look good. We spent the next two weeks driving to AC pretty much every single day. We would've just stayed there but I had to be home for school. It wasn't easy but we did what we had to do to be there. After two weeks I couldn't take it anymore. My Bubby was losing weight (and not looking herself) and was still pretty much unresponsive (less the random toe twitch or hand squeeze.) I decided I didn't want to remember her that way and made the difficult decision to not visit anymore. My mom respected my decision and continued her almost daily commute without me.
I don't regret my decision. My Bubby was an incredible woman and I carry with me so many wonderful memories. I am glad that my memories do not center around her in the hospital, and instead remain focused on her on the boardwalk, the beach, or eating breakfast in the bathroom so as not to wake me in the morning. I am happy that I can still remember her laugh and see her smile. Hell, I'm even happy I remember how annoying it was when she sucked her teeth. I'll always carry with me the memories of being amazed at how she always had hot oatmeal ready for me, regardless of what time I woke up. (Yes, when I grew up and learned how to make oatmeal/keep water hot, I was a little less impressed but still incredibly happy that something so small created such a wonderful memory.) I have a million memories that I could share but that would take all day and, truth be told, I prefer to keep them close to my heart.
Bottom line, it's been way too long since she cut my grapefruit and put my sugar packets out before a beach day. It's been way too long since she handed me $20 and told Meredith and me to "go have fun" on the boardwalk and then didn't get mad when we needed more because $20 just wasn't enough for Steel Pier AND Ripley's Believe It or Not AND pizza. It's been way too long since she packed lunches to eat on the beach, very well knowing I was going to skip lunch and just ask for a fudgesicle. It's been way too long since we sat together on the boardwalk eating ice cream at night, her her butter pecan and me, my whatever concoction I dreamed up. It's been way too long since she called me the apple of her eye and the love of her life. But you know what? With all the time that has passed since hearing that...I still feel it and know it's true.
While my Bubby hasn't been around to see me grow into adulthood, I know she's watching over me always. And while she may not have agreed with all of my decisions, I know she'd still be proud of the woman that I am and I know she'd be my biggest supporter. Being confident in that is comforting during those times when I feel alone. What gets me through it is remembering that because her spirit lives in my heart, I'm never really alone..
I love you, Bubby.
|'Big Al & Till'|
I hope heaven has a boardwalk and you're walking it together.
(One more side note: It still irritates me that her death records report her date of death as October 1st. It wasn't. Grrrrr)