I Didn’t Get to Say Goodbye


My grandma passed away last month. Suddenly, unexpectedly, too soon despite the fact that she lived a long 92 years of life — and I didn’t get to say goodbye.

I was supposed to see her in March. I was in my third trimester of pregnancy and it was my oldest daughter’s spring break, so we had planned to make the five hour road trip to see family one more time before I was too pregnant to travel. Two weeks before we were supposed to go, stay-at-home orders were put in place and our trip was canceled. We were trying to protect our grandparents by staying home.

But I didn’t get to say goodbye.

In May, I had my baby. Still, during a global pandemic and with a newborn at home, I knew I wouldn’t have the desire to travel anytime soon. So, we planned a trip for October. We’ve been staying home and being careful, and in October the baby would be bigger and we’d be getting more sleep at night. October seemed like a good time to make the trip. But life had other plans.

I didn’t get to say goodbye.

In September, we got the call. My grandma had fallen. I told myself that this happens when people get old. We thought it’d mean a quick trip to the ER and back home for rest. Per Covid-19 protocol, only one visitor was allowed inside the hospital, we weren’t aware of the severity of the situation. 

I didn’t get to say goodbye.

After two nights in the hospital, my grandma passed away. There was no family gathering to look through photo albums and tell funny stories, to grieve, and say goodbye. A memorial has been postponed until it’s safer to gather in large groups again. How does one get closure when not much in the world feels real right now?

I didn’t get to say goodbye.

I talked to my grandma for the last time at the end of August, on her 92nd birthday. She kept repeating that she wanted all of this to be over. The pandemic, the quarantine, the mask-wearing. She sounded tired. 

I didn’t get to say goodbye.

But my grandma; she is free.