This powerful and touching story shows us how we can continue the legacy of our lost loved ones while drawing inspiration to live a more meaningful life.
“Wherever life takes you, there is always someone waiting for you here. This place will always be your first home.” As I recall my grandmother's words, a sad smile spread across my face. I inhaled deeply and wiped the tears that were streaming down my cheeks. Today my grandma Aida was finally laid to rest. She lived to the ripe old age of 88.
Saying goodbye to a loved one is painful, but not being able to do it personally brings deeper and long-lasting pain. It's difficult to lose someone, but losing that person during COVID-19 is a different story. Yes, she was taken away from us in the midst of a pandemic. Don't get me wrong: she didn't have COVID-19 and died of natural causes.
Grandma’s world revolved around her husband, kids, and grandchildren. She was loving but a little traditional, in the sense that she was strict and protective. She never wanted to sit around doing nothing, no matter how old she was. She also had an exceptional memory, recalling everyone's name and even the latest neighborhood gossip.
Having been raised by her, I've always pictured myself standing by her side when her time came. I would attend to her needs just like what she did when I was young. I would hold her hands and say my final thank you before she closed her eyes. Sad to say, she left the world without most of her loved ones. We had to see her go from afar. The pandemic forced us to grieve from a distance.
Everything happened quickly. One moment she was in our old house waiting for our homecoming, and the next thing you knew, she was in a coffin surrounded by flowers and candles. The truth is there are still times when I forget that she is already gone. In my mind, she is just in our old house doing her daily chores.
As I look at our old photos, I cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the memories they bring. I can almost feel her calloused hands touching my arm when she wants to get my attention. I can still smell all those delicious snacks she cooked every afternoon, which I always looked forward to eating.
The day she was buried, I sat by the window and waited for the sunset to come. I tried to imagine the simple life we used to have when I was still a young girl, where endless rows of rice fields at the back of our old house served as our playground. As I opened the window, I felt the wind touch my face. My eyes widened in excitement as my favorite part of the day unfolded. Little by little, the sky turned orange. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
“Little by little the sky turned orange. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen."
My heart ached as I realized my new reality. The rice field is gone. Our old house is gone, and now grandma is also gone. Only the orange sky and her memories remain.
I waited for the ache in my heart to subside, but it didn’t, so I allowed myself to drown in sadness. When the sky turned dark, I finally found the courage to whisper, “Thank you. Till we meet again, grandma.”
We’ve all experienced pain and loss at some point in our lives. Moving forward after the death of a loved one is incredibly difficult. Each passing day is filled with longing and sadness, but life has to go on. We have to accept that death is an inevitable fact of life that we must all face.
Letting go is never easy, but let’s do our best to find the strength and courage to continue living. Rather than grieving their death, it’s better to celebrate their lives and remember the good times we shared with them. Let’s treasure their memories by allowing their lives to have a positive impact on ours.
We can continue their legacy by using the lessons we learned from them as an inspiration for us to live a more meaningful life. Saying goodbye doesn't mean that we have forgotten about them or that our relationship is over. Time will pass, and many things will change, but their memories will live on in our hearts and minds forever.
Meet the Author ...
Nhez was born and raised in Bacolod City, Philippines. She has spent several years teaching ESL to Korean and Japanese students but always considered writing to be her first love. She enjoys writing poems, essays as well as short stories. Nhez has four dogs Sidney, King, Felix, and Mira, who she loves spending time with at home.
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[…] within 5 years of that package arriving, my Nanna passed away, but her legacy never did. Suddenly, I got no more letters or packages from her, but still, her […]
I love this, brought back beautiful memories of my Yiayia, filled me with joy and gratitude for everything she did for me.
So beautiful. I was living in Japan when my dad’s mother passed away. It felt traumatic being so far away at that time. It was the only time my father ever shed a tear. Grandma Florence was a steady presence in our lives growing up. I still have a note she wrote me thanking me for doing the dishes one morning as a surprise for her. Now my parents and sister are gone too. Life is so brief. We just have to love while we can. Thank you for reminding us to feel the honor and continue the legacy of those we love.
Thank you Amy for sharing that. Grandmothers really do hold a special place in our hearts. And you’re right, life is so brief, it’s good to get these reminders xo
Yes, life is precious yet brief. We simply have to enjoy each moment we spend with our loved ones. Thanks, Amy.
Thank you for sharing this story. I think writing about it can help us with grief. I recently shared my story about the loss of my loved one and although it was so hard and emotional to write it, it was also very therapeutic and helped me to sort out my emotions too. Thank you!
Hi Smiley – if you can, drop a link here of your story, I’d like to read it. Many people say they get therapeutic benefits from writing. their stories.
Hi Smiley! You’re right writing can be therapeutic and helpful in expressing one’s emotions.
This was incredibly heartfelt. I recently read a book that has helped me process grief… it was “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion. Thank you for sharing this tribute.
Sandra, I’m interested in reading the book. Out of interest is it a faith based book?
Thanks Sandra. It seems like a very interesting a book.
So well written. We all have faced loss in our lives. And each one of us needs to find something and move on. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Arti. I’m glad that enjoyed reading it.
This is beautifully written and such a wonderful way to remember and pay homage to your grandmother.
Hello Jen. Thanks and I’m glad you enjoyed reading the story.
A thrilling tribute, full of emotion and reminiscent of the beauty and simplicity of life!
Thanks Cristina. Your comment made me smile.
Beautiful tribute to your grandmother. I love how you’ll always have the orange sky to think of her.
Yes, the orange sky will always be there for me to remember her. Thanks Mandy.
I think most grandmothers can’t stay idle, they always have something to do. That being said, dealing with the loss of someone can be difficult. This is why we must learn to enjoy every moment with our loved ones while they are still here. Because long after they are gone, only memories and legacies remain.
What you said was true. Let’s show our loved ones how important they are while they are still with us. Thank you.