Leaving for San Diego soon, so I probably won’t get the chance to blog much at all today/tonight.
It’s sort of strange that a lot of my good friends have no idea or never met my grandma. It’s something my family doesn’t like to talk about at all. I say it’s strange because that one lady compromises almost 90% of my life and pretty much shaped me in every way possible, but the people who came in to my life after that day would have never known that.
I still remember that day, twelve years ago today, August 13, 2000. For some reason, the first thing I always remember was that it was dark and the only light on in the house was the one over the staircase. It gave off that warm orange light because of the old incandescent bulbs. Then I remember my brother, my cousin, and I sitting on our blue-carpeted staircase, with my mom a couple stairs above us explaining what happened. My dad was in their room; I want to say he was moving around a lot, pacing, but I’m not too sure because I couldn’t comprehend much after my mom told us the news.
And then my little brother walks into the house. He was at our good friend’s birthday party. They went to Six Flags that day, just the two of them and his parents. I’ve never asked my brother what he remembers, but it had to have been overwhelming to walk into that orange-lit house, with his two older brothers and cousin in tears, and his mom trying to hold back the grief of losing her mom and having to tell her children all in a maternal effort to not make things worse.
Twelve years since, truthfully, I forget the date sometimes. I would’ve forgot about it today had my mom not told me this weekend was probably going to be hard for her because it’ll be twelve years today. I’m pretty sure I know why I forget, because as a kid I never wanted to remember. But now, even on this day, I don’t feel too upset, definitely not as much as previous years, especially the after shock years just after the “Big One.”
That’s not to say that I don’t feel weird today. Because I do, but it’s mostly feelings coming out of the strangeness that is the overaching feeling of how recent it seems that it all happened. I guess twelve years really doesn’t feel that long, and that’s both good and bad—bad because it can still feel as fresh as that day, something my mom surely understands, and good because it doesn’t feel as long since we’ve all lost her. I wonder why, aside from twelve years generally being a short amount of time in a life (this is a newly dawned thought for me), it feels like yesterday.
It might be because I saw a white butterfly yesterday. When my grandma died, my aunts and mom told my brothers and I that whenever we were feeling sad, we should look for a white butterfly because it’s always a sign that your lost loved one is around. It was a coping mechanism, I’m sure, but to this day, whenever one of my brothers sees one, we always make sure to tell my mom. And so, it might feel like yesterday because nothing is ever really lost. We find ways to hold on and remember. And then remembering becomes less painful. And soon, it isn’t even bittersweet—bitter at times, yeah, but nothing compared to the overwhelming sweetness of seeing that all-encompassing butterfly.