Seven years ago today you died.
A lot has happened since the last time I talked to you. I remember that day often, the morning that we were leaving to take the boys to Disney World, coming to the hospital to find comfort in your closeness before I could leave.
A day or two before dad had called me at work to tell me that you had fallen. He said that you had told him you were fine. I called you right away and you told me that you had slipped trying to open the fridge. You said your ribs still hurt and I asked you to go to the hospital. I expected a fight at that suggestion, lord knows I had them in the past but you agreed with me. I remember feeling a foreboding pause and I held my breath when I set down the phone receiver.
Dad called me at work the morning I was supposed to leave. I had been putting in a couple of hours because we were not leaving until the afternoon. He said you had punctured a lung and that the doctors said that given your already fragile condition, it was not likely that you would recover. I cried heavy full sobs - the tears came out of some place I had been stuffing deep into my gut for a long time - they erupted from me. I think I shocked dad and it was hard for him to hear me cry like that. I remember him saying "come on now, we knew that this day would come eventually." It was true, for years you had been preparing all of us that one day you would be gone. Even a goodbye seen from years away still hurts when it finally gets here.
At the hospital I tried to be stoic. I marched into your room and asked what the doctors were doing and what they thought could be done. You looked even more fragile then usual but your fire remained. It made it easy to believe you when you told me that you were not going anywhere. The nurse interrupted us and I was so grateful because I was on the verge of tears. I went into the hall with Grandpa and he told me that we had to go to Florida and that we could not stay, you didn't want that. I cried again.
We went back into the hospital room where you were sitting up in bed. I told you that I loved you and kissed you on the head. You told me that you would see me when I got back. I think we both knew the reality and neither one of us could face it. I left clinging to the hope that your fiery spirit would once again out pace your weakening body.
You died the morning we headed home from Florida. I wasn't there with you.
I wanted to tell you that we had the best trip, together as a family, all of us experiencing Disney for the very first time. You knew that the previous year had been a tough one for us; we really needed that vacation. Thank you for insisting that we go.
I know you know how the rest of my story goes, I tell it to you as I go. Hello Grandma, it's me Melissa xoxo.