A few weeks before my 17th, I moved away from my family to study college in a mountain city 6 hours away from home. I was that kind of kid - I love being around my family but I also love feeling independent. When I told my grandparents who lived right next door, they were not very happy. I am their baby so that reaction was what I expected. I knew how much they would miss their granddaughter but when I reminded them that my oldest sister went to college there, it kind of eased them a bit - or at least I'd like to think so.
A couple of weeks after I went away to move my stuff, I went back home for my birthday and since fathers' day always falls on the following weekend, I was not able to come home for my grandpa. I still remember sitting next to him on the couch where he used to sleep, then laying behind him and giving me a hug telling him I won't be home next week. That same night, I left again for college.
A few days after, he was brought to the hospital. I was worried - he was never hospitalized without me next to him. I was her little girl after all. He took care of me when I'm sick and I would look after him when he is hospitalized. I remember taking exams anxiously because while he was in surgery and studying for my quarterly exam in the spare bed in the hospital.
My sisters would text me often for updates. Another couple of days passed and he had a heart attack. He survived and stayed in the ICU. I was going to take my first BIG exam in college the following day - my sister asked him (for me) if he wanted me to come home. He told me to stay, take my exam and then come home during the weekend. I listened to him and took my exam on Wednesday afternoon and stayed. Thursday morning, at 5am, I got a phone call from my sister. I knew something was wrong. That might have been the worst phone call ever in my life. Whenever I hear the song which was my ringtone back then, I still feel overwhelmed with emotions.
I was bawling. I was crying all the way home in the bus. I ran out of tissue. I was a snotty mess.
Unfortunately, my biggest goodbye was a one way conversation with the only man who was there for me every step of the way when I was growing up. The old guy I would take siestas (naps) with. The guy who is behind my love for Frank Sinatra and the Platters. The guy who had an amputated leg but preferred to walk more than anyone I know. I love you grandpa and I miss you. I always thought you would walk me down the aisle. I still wish you're still here. We all miss you.