Life and death
In this picture you can see me (the youngest one), my sister and in the background my grandma. Even though she’s my grandma, I called her mother all my life. It was her request and all her grandchildren called her that. She raised me from three to seven years old and I spent all my summer and winter holidays at her place. She was at one point the center of my universe, my mother, my grandmother, the only thing that brought me comfort, love and security.
When I was young, we had a special bond. We were both like two traditional old ladies, drinking our coffee together, sharing our love for God, our conservative thoughts, we watched Dallas together and created a hate bond against all the “mean” and “bad” characters like JR and Sue Ellen. She got me and I got her. She saw me as her little angel and I made sure to stick to that label. I always tried not to disobey her and please her in every single way so that I continue to feel loved and protected.
One of my best memory at my grandma’s place was during the winter time. I loved to wake up to the smell of hot tea, toast bread with butter and jam and the smoke of burning logs in the old wood stove. She used to bring everything on a tray in bed and we used to watch TV together. I don’t remember what we were watching, but I do remember the stunning winter scenery outside and the thick white layer of snow on the pine trees right in front of our house. It felt so warm and safe.
The sad moments were when I cried myself to sleep, because I was so scared of losing her. I could tell that she was old and I knew that I would lose her one day. I remember so many nights crying beside her after she had fallen asleep. From 5 years old until 20, I lived with that fear and I often cried at night thinking that I could never cope with her death. It was a fear that hunted my childhood and early adolescence and I remember so vividly my strong and pure child emotions. It’s as if we were sharing the same body, and losing her would be like losing myself. I remember that the attachment was so real, so honest and so profound.
Today, my grandmother died at the age of 98. 25 years later than I feared it would happen. 25 years… What I didn’t know as a child and as an adolescent is that it’s not worth thinking so much ahead. I didn’t know how to focus on the present and I spent most of my time in the future and sometimes the very far future. I remember most of my childhood worrying about what would happen to me and to those around me.
Today, for the first time, I am faced to admit that a fear which I had since I was five, became a reality 25 years later. Today, I’m 30 years old and many things have changed since I was 5. Over the years, my grandmother and I grew apart. At 19, I became an atheist and things started to be tense around her. Little by little, I became a hard core liberal and my grandmother and I took different paths. Our views didn’t match anymore and our relationship became more and more distant. Today, I accept the fact that my grandmother died at 98 years old and that death is a natural part of life.
I want to stop and think about all the things that I fear are going to happen tomorrow, in the next 3 years or in next 25. The truth is we never know when we will be faced with such moments. And what we also don’t know is how we will have evolved until then. Our mind set, our inner self and our life experiences might be completely different than those that we have today. Therefore, is it worth worrying about how we will react 2, 5 or 25 years from now? Is it worth worrying even about tomorrow when we have no idea what our mind set will be and what the day will bring?
Today, is the day that I will stop and think only about today. I wish I could hug my inner child and tell her that she was scared 25 years in advance for something that would happen only today and that the day that it would happen she would be ready for it and would accept that her grandmother’s time has come. Today, is a lesson about life and death.
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