"There isn't a surgery to help her."
My chest tightened. Does that mean that she can't...?
"Mom? Are you saying that Grandma will..."
My mother shook her head, tears brimming her eyes.
No, no, no. This couldn't be happening. My grandmother is a survivor. She couldn't die now.
My mother hugged me. She gently stroked my head. "Honey, we knew this would happen. She refused the surgery. It was only a matter of time."
"How could you say that?" I raised my voice. "You expected her to die? This is your mother! How could you?" I screamed.
"No, honey, her aorta was stretched to far. It poped. There's no way to stop it-" my mother started.
"And you're here talking to me while Grandma is internally bleeding to death! An aneurism, I know, mom, I heard what the doctor said to you! I am not deaf! But guess what? Grandma will be deaf soon because SHE WILL BE DEAD." I screeched.
Mom opened her mouth. My brother shook his head. He didn't cry. He didn't seem sad. Being the older one, he had a shell harder than rock. As for me, I could break as easily as an egg.
"I want to go home." I said firmly, ignoring how childish that sounded. My mother sighed and brought me home along with my sibling. The whole way I turned myself towards the window, trying not to cry, but failing.
I entered the room. She was laying on the hospital bed, hooks and pipes attached to her. I looked away.
She smiled, despite being so close to death. "I'll live, Bao Bao. Grandma will get out of here in no time."
I smiled weakly. She was using my chinese nickname Bao Bao, which loosely translates my precious fortune.
But my heart ached even more. She still didn't know that she wouldn't live long. The aorta, the biggest artery in the human body would not allow my grandmother to breath much longer.
She was lying on her deathbed, and nothing would change this.
The doctor said she either die tommorrow or live up to six months. I hoped for the latter.
I gave her the chocolcate and cake. She always had a sweet tooth, and she was incredibly sneaky for an 70 year old when it came to sweets.
She ate a few pieces, but could no longer. She laid back down on the cheap pillow and sighed. "I'm tired now, Bao Bao." She forced a wavering smile. "I'm going to sleep now. See you tommorrow, alright?"
I nodded as I walked out of the room and waved goodbye.
But I didn't know that would be the last time I saw her breathing.
I pushed open the front door of my home. I quickly dropped my backpack and bolted into my grandmother's bedroom. I was so excited to see her. At least she wouldn't die in the pristine hospital. She would be here with us. At home.
The doctor promised us that my grandmother will be moved her room today. My grandmother lived with the rest of family, and her room was right next to mine. Sometimes her snoring would berce me to sleep.
Instead on seeing my grandmother laying on the queen bed and hearing a weak laugh of delight, I saw my mother folding up her clothes while my grandfather was opening a suitcase.
A sinking feeling settled at the pit of my stomach.
My mother looked at me for a second before a sob trembled through her body.
This is so not happening.
She's dead. My grandmother is a corpse. Her body failed her.
I failed her.
My father hugged me, but I wiggled out of his grasp and locked myself into the bathroom.
Then I proceeded to have the biggest meltdown of my life.
I just wished I couldn't feel anymore. Pain, pain, pain, sadness. My world is painted in red.
At school, I acted as if nothing happened. Nobody needed to know how I felt. People would just say I would be a drama queen.
So I kept in bottled in, and every night I would cry myself to sleep.
Not that anybody would care.
Halloween. Rose invited me to her neighborhood to trick or treat. I accepted with fake enthusiam, even though I actually wanted to go. I wanted to forget my pain and numbness. I wanted to feel happiness, or at least a bit of it.
I wanted to feel alive again.
We actually had some fun. Rose invited Oxygen, along with a neighborhood friend and another friend. They were all nice to me. We made lots of jokes, and I thought Rose's friend was pretty funny. He was from school, but I've never talked to him much.
Long story short, I had as much fun as I could bear without thinking about the funeral tommorrow.
When it was almost time to leave, Oxygen caught me looking down.
"What's up, Zero?"
"I..." I didn't know if I should tell the truth. I didn't want my friends to be concerned with me or think that I was being dramatic.
"I'm attending my grandmother's funeral tommorow." I confessed.
Oxygen frowned, her eyes full of empathy. "I'm so sorry."
Rose's friend came out. He overheard the conversation. "Oh." He paused. "I'm sorry for that."
I shook my head and said nothing. I headed into Rose's home and hoped that they didn't see my escaping tears.
They aren't sorry. They don't know how it feels like. They didn't know how it feels like to see someone you cherish gone from your life so quickly. And the regrets. I regret every moment when I hated my grandmother for not letting me do something stupid but fun. I regret every moment were she asked me if I was okay and I told her to leave me alone. I regret the moment where she brought me a gift but I threw it away because I hated it.
I must be the world's worst granddaughter. I just wished I hated her and she hated me so I wouldn't be in so much pain right now.
I am the world's worst granddaughter.
I set myself a goal to not cry during the funeral. It was done. There's no going back. I already said goodbye to my childhood, yet I envy those days where I thought life was fair and peaceful. Where I thought kindness is everywhere, and "bad guys" would be eliminated by the "good guys".
How stupid I was back then. I didn't know the difficult and complicated dynamics of life. And I still don't.
I watched my pale grandmother in the casket. My pale grandmother that was so very much dead.
She looked like she was asleep. I just imagined her that way. That way, it kept most of the tears away.
My brother, who was sitting on my right finally cracked. During these few days, he showed no emotion. It was to a point I thought he was a psychopath. To a point I thought he was heartless and didn't give a shit that his mother's mother just passed away.
But he finally cracked. I pretended not to notice. He grabbed a box of tissues and sniffled loudly. Without much thought, I hugged him, burying my face into his chest. During hard times like these, family and friends is all that we can hold onto.
He didn't mind that I was turning his black shirt wet. He just hugged me back. And I didn't mind him crying into my black dress either.
A few speeches were spoken, most of them in chinese. All of my grandmother's friends showed up. None of them had dry eyes.
Then it was my turn.
My father motioned me to the podium. He gave me a glance that meant You don't have to do this. I shook my head. I am going to do this. I'm going to do this for my mom. I'm going to do this for everybody who was attending this funeral. I'm going to do this for Grandma.
Once I settled myself at the flower-covered podium, I cleared my throat and spoke.
"My grandmother, Wang Siu Zhi, has raise my brother and I since we were born. Almost 14 years of helping us out, she deserved a long, peaceful rest. I didn’t have enough time to return the favor."
My voice shook terribly. It cracked a bit. But I didn't care. I didn't care at all.
"She always saw the good in people, despite our flaws. She taught me how to sow, to draw, to be curious about things. I will never forget her for teaching many useful things that still come in handy today."
Somebody supressed a sob in the crowd. It took a moment to realize that it was me.
I turned towards my grandmother.
"Farewell. No matter how far away you are from me, no matter in what form; alive or dead; you will always be in my heart."
I slowly stepped away from the podium. All eyes are on me.
"That was very kind of her. How sweet."
"She doesn't deserve to go through this pain."
"Beautifully said. She should become a writer."
"That's so sweet. I just wish she didn't have to go through this."
I heard these comments. But I didn't want to. I didn't want anybody to care for me. To feel bad for me. I hated being weak and vunerable. That's the perfect time when bad things and people grow on you. Take advantage of your broken heart.
I rushed back into my seat and buried my face into tissues and tears.
I was mad at my grandmother. How could she leave us like that? I clearly knew that my mother was in so much pain. A lot more than me. I consoled her. I put on a brave facade for her. She told me that she was proud of that speech I delivered at the funeral. She said I was strong. But she didn't know I was slowly cracking, and minute by minute, the fissures were slowly reaching the center of my soul. Of my sanity.
Of my breaking point.
I was not going to have a meltdown. I am not. Meltdowns are for pussies.
I once thought like that. But now I now even the stone-hard warriors have meltdowns. Nobody is unbreakable. Including myself.
I would lose my battle someday.
I should forget. I wished I would forget. I wished I could put myself back into child-me's mindset. It would be so much easier. So much easier to cope with this. So much easier to ignore.
Pain could really change a person.
Author Notes: I cried so hard while I was writing this. But I just want to put these memories somewhere, so would never forget them. Ever.