I'm Here

A short story based on a mixture of two songs: 'I Miss Her' by Jessie J and 'Say Something' by A Great Big World + Christina Aguilera.
****At times, it's kind of like a string of thoughts, but I hope that doesn't bore anyone. Hope you like it :)

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1. I'm Here

 

“Grandma!” My voice rings through the seemingly-empty house, one quiet voice trying to sound confident in the surrounding silence. Wrapping my arms across my chest, I wait for a reply, as if maybe I’m being too pessimistic if I don’t rely on hope. But the constant echo that follows is enough to remind me who she’s turned into – Grandma - and that however long I wait, I won’t get a response.


“I’m here, Grandma.” Seconds later, I’m clambering up the stairs, wondering if she’s even there.


But of course she is.


As I enter the room she’s sitting on her bed, folding paper after paper, corner after corner. Sometimes I wonder how it keeps her occupied. Gently placing myself beside her – careful not to blow away the tissues – I grab her hand. Leaning down, I whisper my prayer – the same prayer I always make.


I miss her, even though she’s still here.
God, you need to listen,
Don’t let her disappear.
I’ll give her my forever, my life, my everything.
Just for her to be here for a day, for her to really be okay.
Cause’ I miss her.
Even though she’s still here.


And signing it off with ‘Amen’, I look up into her glistening blue eyes, sealed off from the world. She picks up the tissue and mumbles to herself, laughing at her creation. Can she hear my words? Can she hear my thoughts?


“You know I care…” I say to her, gripping her hand as if she’ll slip away.


But does she?


Maybe what I’m saying is really just an empty prayer.


~ ~ ~


I stare at her face in the photo, her blonde curly hair and her smile as wide as the ocean. Her three cats surround her, her babies, whilst her family feature in the background – a distant memory.


Maybe that’s what it’s like now. Her mind so far forward she’s lost us; we’ve lost her. She’s so far into the lens she’s blurring at the edges, like she’s blurring in life because now all she has left is confusion. She’s locked in the photo like she’s trapped in her own body now. She can’t go back because she doesn’t have the key, the medicine, to escape.


So when I feel like you don’t understand, I give up explaining.


‘She’ll get better’, you say.


‘I’m sure everything will be okay’, you soothe.


But how can you even think that? How can you even pretend she’ll remember me when in the end, she’ll never recognise my face?


If you think you know, tell me. Show me how to heal her if she can’t even feel it. Please, show me.


But you’ll never know. Like she’ll never know what she’s missing – the family dinners; the birthday presents; the time I’d paint her nails and she’d pull away but eventually let me do them. Those memories, so recent, she’ll forget in a second.


Say something.


I wish she’d say something that makes sense, not something meaningless. But is anything she says meaningless? To her, in her jumbled up mind, maybe everything makes sense? That to her it’s forming properly and because we can’t understand, it brings out the frustration in her. She wants to escape - she wants to realise.


But she can’t.


So me wishing she would remember means nothing; all she has is all she’s lost. Gone. Forever. Memory by memory she’s slipping away and it’s hurting me, my family, more than ever.

 

And now, years later, I stand beside her bed in the hospital. My family crowd around her as she lays soulless on the bed - a bundle of emotions, feelings, drained out of her; her body is now a liquid squeezed out of the jar, a dove broken free from the cage to freedom. But do you think this is what I really want - for her to finally be let free?


As my family move away into the hall for air, I stand beside her as one lonely person, one tiny person in a bigger world. Her being here is already over my head, out of reach. I thought I knew everything, but maybe I knew nothing at all.


I fall to her knees, like I know I will, but I’m still learning to love, just starting to crawl. So as I lean into her, what am I meant to feel in this moment? How am I meant to feel as I’m letting her go?


Because I want to save her. Anywhere, I would have followed her if that’s what it meant for her to be saved. But as I watch her lying there, I know I couldn’t have really done a thing, only that now I must do what I have to do.


Say my prayer.


And as I do I’m begging inside, “Say something.”


I’m begging, “Say something, because I’m giving up on you.”


And as I swallow my pride, I’m breaking. Crumbling, I fall to the ground and I’m lying there. Like a shattered glass, I lay still, wondering how long I can lie here before someone realises.


But no one does.


And then I think that this is what Grandma felt like. That she knew she was here, but that no one noticed what she was really trying to do, or show. I’m interpreting my feelings here, how I feel shattered and broken inside, but to someone overlooking I’m just a stupid teenager impersonating a dead person. That’s how she felt like, I’m sure - that she was seen as stupid as she licked the plate clean, or when she ate with her hands like a baby, but she just wanted to be noticed. She only wanted us to know she was there.

 

So as people flood back in I get up into a kneeling position and wish her a different prayer, a prayer that wishes her the best as she leaves this world. But this time I lean in to her ear, so she can hear everything I say.


Promise me this,
That when she goes everything she sees will set her free,
Thirteen and the colour green,
Promise me this,
That she knows that the people she loves will still her love her,
Even though she’s in the skies above.


And as I sign off with ‘Amen’ this time, tears are rolling down my crimson cheeks, staining my face with hurt, anger, pain. I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. And I’m screaming it inside. I want her to know it - that I notice her. I notice the way she tried to show herself, the way she pleaded us to understand her. I’m here. I’m right here.


But no screaming will ever lessen the love I have for her, nor the hurt I have for her leaving.


So as a hand slides upon my shoulder for comfort, I whisper, “I love you.”


But I know I’m really saying goodbye.

 

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