The walk to my grandma's house is a familiar one in which I revel in the nostalgia while gazing happily at the flowers strewn about her front yard. The flower beds are full of vivacious reds, sprinkled with dusty blue and rich purples. Memories of helping her with the garden play through my mind, the sound of her hearty laughter hand-delivered to me by the wind swims it's way into my heart, now warm with love. My daydream stops as I'm whisked into her arms as the familiar scent of her perfume wiggles it's way into my nose. She pulls away from me, the warm shine behind her eyes was blindingly bright today. I began to wonder why when her face falls into a gentle smile and says “Happy Easter lovey.” Big holidays or really any Plain Jane of a day that she could get the entire family together were always the days that she cherished most. My immediate instinct was to go outside, this time to the backyard. As I walk to the back door, I'm derailed from my mission by my uncle. He asks me the same questions: how school is going, how my grades are, what I want to do with the rest of my life, etc. My dad rounds the corner and strikes up conversation with my uncle, giving me a moment to slip away. As I open the door to the back yard, I'm greeted with the smell of freshly bloomed flowers. The entire backyard was filled with flowers. When I was younger I thought my grandma was Snow White because of the sheer amount of animal life that would inhabit her backyard. The birds would eat peacefully before the squirrels hurled themselves at the feeders. Her favorite visitors were the ducks that would take a dip in their personal pond, which she had stocked full of goldfish. I took up temporary residency right in front of the pond, trying to spot all of the fish residing in it. I hear the door open, then careful footsteps that stop once they've reached me. I don't have to look to know that my grandma has taken the spot next to me. She tells me that it's time for dinner, and I simply nod in response. We stand there for another moment, separating ourselves from the rest of the universe and allowing ourselves to just exist. By the time we've all sat down for dinner, the familiar traffic jam of conversation starts up. The first real conversation brought up is about the decoration, how all of the bunnies that she has laid out are all so stinkin' adorable in the eyes of my mother. I decide to partake in the conversation so I point out the Cadbury Crème Eggs that are set in front of everyone's seats. She would do everything she could to make sure her family was content, even if it was as tedious as paying attention to everyone's favorite crème egg flavor. The conversation died down as everyone ravaged their plates full of delicious honey glazed ham, creamy mashed potatoes, and cherry and marshmallow jello. Everyone disperses from the table, scattering themselves around the house leaving only grandma and I at the table. We sit in comfortable silence, letting the quiet hum of the air conditioning do the talking for us. Then a few weeks later my grandma was in the hospital. The day I came home and noticed the unsettling quiet in my house, I knew. I knew when I entered my parents room and saw both of their tear stained faces. I knew, and yet when my dad looked at me with grief and defeat in his eyes and told me that after just a week in the hospital, my grandma had passed, I broke. I had felt so much grief that I swear I could feel my heart tearing itself apart. I couldn't stand being in a room with other people in it, so I locked myself in my room. I threw myself on the bed and was quickly overcome by my fondest memories of her. Every encouraging word, every time she gave me a hug, every grocery shopping trip that always seemed to drag on. Warmth, fondness, and unconditional love radiated from them. I dwelled on the things I would never share with her, like getting my first car or getting engaged when I finally fell in love. More than anything, I hated that I wouldn't be able to be near her again. My grandma's heart was so big you could feel the love coming from it from miles away. The thought of not having her in my life anymore was crushing. It was as though she could see me drowning in myself, because something brought my attention to the table next to my bed. As I sift through the clutter, my fingers land on something that sends a shock of calm through my hand. Realization quickly shoots through my foggy brain as I lift the key to my grandma's house to my face. I've made it a part of my daily routine to place the key around my neck so that I can take her to all of the places that she wasn't able to go. Your lovey loves you, grandma.
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