It will be exactly a month, tomorrow- since I experienced the loss of one of the most important people in my life, my grandmother.

I never expected a phone call to change my life so much- it seemed so unreal; a concept that belonged only in the movies to excite the audience but only left them with a disappointing plot twist. The second day of senior year, I went from getting ready to go to school to jumping on a plane to Mumbai. In just three days, my grandma went from being unwell to being placed on life support.

The next few days of visiting her in the hospital were painful- I missed her voice, her laugh, her contagious smile but she just lied there; calm and untouched. Although unresponsive, I knew she could see us and hear us. Visiting her in tears or showing any sign of sadness would have been an insult. Her jovial nature would light up the room, begging for even more gaiety. Her peaceful breathing comforted us. She was such a fighter- yet, you would have never seen even a slight bit of aggression. She tackled dementia, Alzheimer’s and breast cancer so confidently.

On the 25th of August, my grandma waved a soft ‘see you soon’ to all of us. In just three days, I was forced to mentally prepare myself for a loss that nobody saw coming. A goodbye so quick and unexpected had left me feeling numb. It’s difficult to talk about a loved one’s passing; what do you even say? How do you say it? She was the first person I’ve had to ever say a goodbye to. After she passed away, silence had replaced her in uncomfortable ways. We tried to avoid it by filling up empty spaces with random chatter, almost to avoid the realization that she was no longer here. We were all hurting inside but refused to show any sign of desolation.

It’s difficult for days to go by without the thought of her- she left such a beautiful legacy. Today, when anyone thinks of her, they’re only reminded of her kindness, her warmth, and her innocent laugh. She truly was a blessing in disguise, she knew how to love so fiercely. In a world like today, it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t express emotions of distaste but I didn’t expect anything less from my grandmother. A rotten word never found its place in her mouth. She had her way with words; her loving compliments filled the room providing a sense of warmth and comfort to everybody. Although her memory may have failed her in other ways, it never allowed her to forget the people and memories she loved.

Her smile will always be one of my favorite things about her. Something so irreplaceable, so contagious and so sweet. It was a hug in itself; a pacifier, really. A little giggle would always follow. Our surprise visits would never go according to plan. She’d wait patiently by the door, waiting to greet us- it was almost as if she knew we were coming. I can never forget the way her eyes lit up when she saw us- a 4-year-old child would be reborn in her frail body. She’d excitedly say our names and embrace us so tightly. Her hands so soft and warm.

It hurts for me to write this because I still haven’t accepted the harsh reality but today, I know that she rests in complete peace. It’s never really a goodbye- just a see you again. Her soul is still alive and will continue to watch over us; protecting us and giving us the company we need whenever loneliness takes over. A little post would never be able to commemorate the life she lived or even the person she was but it’s a little way for me to honor her as her youngest grandchild.

R.I.P, Aai. We love you so much.