It has been one of the longest weeks ever. I should have left earlier but I procrastinated. Perhaps I thought by sheer will that I could postpone the inevitable. But death waits for no man, certainly not me, who missed my grandmother’s final breath by 30 minutes.
It wouldn’t have mattered to my Omi, as we called her, if I had made it because the hemorrhagic stroke all but took her away a week prior. We were told she could still hear and I did speak to her via my mom’s phone en route. But by the time I arrived, she was gone, because Philadelphia is quite a ways from Clearwater, Florida, and the plane left at 3:30 and not 2:30.
She was surrounded by family at the end which is all that matters. She did not go alone. And when I arrived, she was still warm and I could touch her one more time. For some time afterwards, we sat around her as if to be there just in case her spirit was lurking about. Just in case she wanted one last look at her family. It’s very comforting for us as well; to be around each other. To know we are not alone. We have each other, regardless of physical distance.
It’s been amazing to learn about the lives my grandmother touched with her humor and curiosity. I’m glad so many people knew what a wonderful person she was and I’m glad to have been able to say thank you for their kindness and support. So many people made a difficult time easier to bear even though they had never met me before.
And so it’s time to move forward and carry my Omi’s legacy along my own journey. To always remember where I come from and to know I have generations of strength taking me to where I’ll go.