It is a long time ago now, but I still remember going to my grandmother, Situ’s, old apartment when I was about six-years-old. I went several times, but I remember this one in particular. We were sitting on the couch — all three of us — Situ, my sister, and I. We’d eaten and finished dinner long before, and the Barbies were strewn across the floor. Mom and Dad had yet to come back from their dinner out and Situ was taking a moment to tell us some stories from her childhood. She talked about her days in Lebanon with her many brothers and sisters and all of the animals that they had. Situ explained certain customs and words to us as we watched in fascination. But more than all of that, I remember how she told us that she loved us oh, so very much. And it seemed to me like that would never change, through death or life, her love would remain.
I called her almost every day — or she called me. We talked about a lot of things. She was the one that I told about my success and my failure and everything of consequence or of none at all. Situ would talk, too — usually about her latest purchases or what she was cooking. Sometimes, we even had political debates. No matter what though, we always ended with the words, “I love you.”
Often, when people ask me where I got a particular sweater or accessory, I answer with the words, “My grandma.” Even though nothing has been given in the past year, I still use gifts that she bought so lovingly. She was an expert at shopping and always had something to give us, because she loved us, wherever she went.
Situ always worried about where we were and what we were up to. She didn’t like it when I disappeared to look at books while shopping when I was ten. “Something could happen to you if you don’t stay with your mom and me!” I remember how relieved she was when I quit riding for good, a sport which she deemed dangerous. And she never did approve of my trip to Mexico that last summer. But she always said, “It’s just because I love you.”
Last October, Situ wasn’t shopping or supporting her favourite politician because straps bound her to a hospital bed. She gasped for life, on morphine and dialysis. I went to say good-bye to her there — in that cold, hospital room. “Don’t be too upset when I die.” She said, though I could not help but cry. And for some reason, it took me a long time to say those words of love that had always come out of my mouth so easily before. Perhaps it was because it was so final. Maybe it was for the fact that I would never say it again. She was dying, this love that I had. What words could I use? Finally, I whispered, “I will always love you.”
A year ago today, my grandma, Situ, had her last breath on this earth. It seemed so strange and unreal. I remember calling her apartment after it happened, just to make sure. I knew that she was dead but I still half-expected to hear her voice on the other end. All I heard was an answering machine, the shadow of what once had been. A dead love.
And there was the funeral, in which everyone cried, I read a poem, and we buried her and put roses on her grave. We went through days and weeks and months and holidays without her. Her birthday came and went. The chapter of her life on earth has ended, yet I still think of her everyday. She has not left my mind. Yes, I have kept my promise for I have realized, that love does not really end like death.
For although Situ is gone today, her memory is forever alive. I can’t hear her voice right now, but I remember when I did. I can still see her face, and feel her warm embrace. I may not be able to tell her my accomplishments, thoughts, feelings, and failings but I can imagine what she would say. I know that she’d be proud of all of the things that I’ve done. I know that she would smile and cry with me again if she could. And I am certain that I shall see her again someday, when to that place I go as well. Most of all, I love her even more because although death ends life, love continues it forever.
Situ, my grandmother, forever in my heart.