Today's the anniversary of my grandmother's death. One year ago, just a few minutes past midnight, she slipped away in a coma from a severe stroke.
We had spent two days gathered around her sleeping body, touching her limbs, trying to collect signs that she would be coming back to us. When the nurse trailed a finger against the sole of her foot, the toes arched and crinkled. She gnawed and gnashed her teeth, clamping down hard whenever the nurses probed a tube in her mouth, and we believed that she could still hear us, and was trying to respond. Still responsive, we thought. Still responsive.
It comes and goes, these memories of her. Mostly, I think of her slow shuffle through the streets, the way her arms sway in momentum and the way the sun glints off her glasses. I think of the way she'd hold my hand and say that my blood circulation is bad, that her limbs are even warmer than mine. I think of how she used to tell me a horrifically bloody Little Red Riding Hood tale as my bedtime story and how she used to bring me bananas, star cookies, and those pink candies she preferred that were wrapped in designs of flowers. I think of her love of Hong Kong TVB dramas and wonder what her reactions would be to the new shows that are coming out.
I smile sometimes. But mostly, I cry.
I feel guilty that I can still be happy today of all days. And there are no words of comfort that still doesn't sound mundane to me. "It's okay.", "She's in a better place now.", "She wouldn't want you to feel sad." I've heard them all.
I think of her final, lonely moments.
To think I almost forgot.