sucker for goodbyes

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my Grandma. Maybe it's the weather? I'm not sure. Or maybe it's that back to school air, which takes me back in time to the days when she was here.

Every other day after school, I used to walk to my grandparents' house to visit, have a grape soda and a nice long chat with Gramma, as she watched her game shows and soap operas. She listened intently with the occasional chuckle, where she'd tilt her head back and shut her eyes. I loved making her laugh. It was just so contagious.

I remember last seeing her in late January or early Feb, as it was too frigid outside to walk to the next school, where I often met with one of my friends. Papa went out to the garage to warm up the car, while Gramma grabbed her coat and said she would be coming along. On a day such as it was (Winnipeg at its best) she would have stayed home. She was insistent this time, as she had a lot to say.

The entire drive, she spoke about how she was so proud of me, that I was capable of doing so many things that even I wasn't aware of yet. "You're the light of my life, kid" she said in a tone that was both casual and matter-of-fact. It struck me as odd, for a while, as she was not one to be so open, emotionally, to anyone.

Had I known that it was the last time I was going to see her, I would have said something. Anything. But, instead I got out of the car and said my goodbyes like it was any other day. As I made my way toward the school, I could hear behind me, the automatic window roll down. Open enough to slip her fingers out into the cold, she placed in my hands a bouquet of Tootsie Pops. "Gramma loves ya, kid" she said one last time as I looked at the gift while the car drove away. She had just given me her final goodbye. Simple and sweet, in more ways than one.

I miss her every day.

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