I arrive at the hospital. Again. “I think this is it.” My mom has uttered these words so many times that I don’t believe her anymore. Every couple weeks, for the past 2 years I have found myself rushing to the hospital, after a frantic call from her.
She leaves the room and I am left alone with my grandmother, who is sleeping. I don’t dare wake her up. I know if she is awake, she is in pain, so I let her sleep.
I look her at fleshy pursed lips, dry skin, and thinning hair, almost unable to recognize her anymore. She never left the house without putting on her magenta pink lipstick. Her skin always felt so smooth that I would sit and caress her arms, as we would watch TV. Her hair though. Her big, beautiful, blonde hair. Always thrown on top her head in a Bridgette Bardot style, I can’t imagine the amount of hairspray it took to keep it from falling.
But not anymore.
For two years, I watched this regal, gorgeous woman, deteriorate into less than skin and bones.
This eloquent woman that taught me about life and love, and being a proper lady, lay helpless in front of me.
Surviving through breast cancer, her first husband’s suicide, and being diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and given 6 months to live. She made it 2 years, but suffering the whole time. It wasn’t fair that this is how she would go after everything she had been through in life.
Sick, hooked up to a breathing machine in a hospital, on reused bleached sheets from others like her.
I told her goodbye and how much I loved her.
I kissed her forehead. It was so warm.
A week later, I walked into the viewing room. Shocked by the open casket, I immediately burst into tears. My grandmother, who had barely left the house since she got sick, so nobody would see her like that, was laying lifeless in an open casket.
This was it.
The priest asked if we would all like to kiss her one last time, as part of the ritual. I could barely look at her, but I didn’t want to regret not doing so.
I kissed her on the forehead. It was so hard, and cold.
“So fill me in, what’s going on in your love lives?” It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Amy; she’s home for the week visiting from Seattle. Claire sighs and goes into her long-winded story about her breakup. I have heard this story so many times, and it always sounds just as bad as the first time. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Disappointment and anxiety; dating in the new age. “What about you?” Amy asks turning to me. I tell her about the guy I was with and how great he seemed, but then everything turned to shit as it usually does. “How do you guys do it? I won’t date anymore. It hurts too much. Aren’t you sick of having your heart broken? It’s the worst feeling” says Amy. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Of course, I am. Every couple weeks or months, it’s the same soul crushing feeling. I’m just a romantic, I think to myself, but shit, maybe I’m actually a masochist. I’m the one the keeps opening myself up, just to get hurt in the end. That's it. I’m deleting all the dating apps off my phone, I’m done. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“With every breakup, it gets easier,” Claire’s new favorite saying (although she’s since gotten back with her boyfriend, but continues to bring this up). Sure, it gets easier to bounce back and move on each time, to say fuck it, that wasn’t my person. But with every breakup, or ghosting, or benching, or zombieing, or whatever new term for treating someone like shit, is trending this week, it gets harder to stay hopeful in finding a genuine person to connect with. Damn, she's right, I am so so so sick of that soul crushing heartbreaking feeling. I’m done. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“Wanna swipe for me?” I ask Amy pulling out my phone.