I have few regrets in life, only one haunts me still…
My grandma was the most amazing woman I ever knew. She had many flaws, laughed rarely and was very skeptical of anything and anyone and yet, she was kind-hearted and full of love but what I remember most about her is her sense of right and wrong. Of course, her sense was completely skewed and many things that I did were clearly wrong but she would defend each and every one of my horrible decisions and awful actions, because she tried to protect me. But no matter how much she tried to protect me, nothing could have ever in a million years prepared me for what I had to face the day she died.
The worst moment of her cancer was the day she lost her hair. She had short black curly hair that she used to dye, but losing that hair broke her. Back then I had wavy mid-back long chocolate brown hair and I had promised her to shave my head and donate my locks so she could have a hair piece. I never did shave my head, she never did get that hair-piece and this still haunts me.
I can still see her face, the agony, the pain, the fear and I can still hear her voice, the disbelief that this was going to be it, that there weren’t any coffee dates anymore, no strolling around in the city, no talking about minor things that had no relevance whatsoever. All of that vanished in a split second and just like that she was gone.
For the months to come I tried my best to get back to myself, find a way to cope with my pain and I barely succeeded. No matter how hard I tried, I was never going to be the same person I was when she was still around. That was almost five years ago.
A few nights ago, as I watched the stars from a dock on the banks of an Indian lake, my grandma’s favorite song started playing and I was instantly brought back to the first time she ever heard that song and started dancing in her kitchen. I remember how clumsily she threw her hands in the air, closed her eyes and mouthed made-up words to the song, “stand by me”. It’s one of my favorite memories of her. But being on that lake, in the middle of the night looking upon the stars, made me realize that although I will never be the same person as I was when she was alive, I am the person that I am now, because of her.
She was a great a person, a wonderful human-being and most importantly an unbelievably strong woman. She taught me what equality meant, she taught me how to stand up for yourself and for others. She taught me how to hold my head up high going through tough times. My grandma showed me how to handle every situation to the best of my abilities and most importantly, my grandma showed me how to love and respect myself and others.
Because of her I seize every opportunity. Because she never could, I carry my emotions on my sleeves (yes, both of the sleeves). Because she only saw a small portion of the world, I travel. It is because of her that I go further than she ever thought possible in every way that I could come up with. Because of all the horrendous stories she had told me about her childhood and womanhood, I defend every right possible for every girl and woman that is out there. Because of my grandma, I am the way I am.
It still pains me thinking that I wasn’t able to keep my last promise to my grandma, but I think that this regret also made me stronger. Not being able to keep that simple promise, left me wanting to experience live to the fullest, in ways that were denied to my grandma.
My grandma never got to see the sea the way I saw it, she never got to dip her toes in the deep blue or let alone take a boat out and let the waves take you just far enough where you don’t see the shoreline anymore. She never got to feel the salty ocean water on her skin or watch fisherfolk bring in their catch. I’d like to think, she would have liked that. Because of that, I’d steal myself away every second possible and watch life pass me by as I stare at the ocean remembering the great person that my grandma was.