My drive home on Monday was earth shattering. You know that phone call, when you hear the other person’s voice and just know deep down that something is wrong? The phone call that you see in movies but never imagine you will receive? It happened.
We’ve lost family members before, but it was always an elder, and we were always prepared. Only once before was I ever thrown off my guard, and that was with the passing of my boyfriend’s father. My cousin Gigi was there to help me through it, but now, this phone call was about her.
The moment the words slipped out of my cousin Steph’s mouth that her sister had died, the only thing I could say was no. I believed I said that “it’s not real,” but to be honest with you, I don’t remember what I said, what was said to me, or how the conversation ended. Even as I arrived at the ER, and was escorted back to the room, it wasn’t real. That wasn’t my cousins body & none of this was happening.
Cousins are your first friends.
As a only child, with a huge tight-knit family, this plopped me right into the arms of Gigi and Steph. Being only a year apart from Gigi, and two years apart from Steph, you can image how easy it was for me to slip right into their lives. My memories have always included them; at very family function, we were glued to each other.
Throughout my life, Gigi has always been there, almost like Jiminy Cricket- being my guide. Who was taking pictures of us before my senior prom? Gigi. Who would call or text me to cheer me up or just to tell me she loved me? Gigi. Who would come surprise me at work or home just for fun? Gigi. Who would talk me through any issue I had? Gigi.
We bickered like sisters, loved like sisters, got tattoos like sisters, leaned on each other like sisters, dreamed like sisters and loved like sisters. I keep telling myself that it’s not real, that my best friend is still here. That we’ll be able to dance at our weddings to Dancing Queen like we always planned to, and that she’d be there cheering me on in all of my achievements in life, as she always has.
What do I do now?
I keep replaying those finite words from Monday’s conversations over and over in my head. I’m still in shock, and still telling myself that it’s not real. It’s too soon. I’m not ready. I should have answered her snap chat on Monday. Why didn’t I call her more? I should’ve spent more time with her at Thanksgiving.
These phrases, are the devil; quite literally. When I really think about them, I know that it’s a just load of crap trying to pull me into unhappiness. When I really think, and just sit in the moment and absorb what has happened, I hear her telling me it’s okay to keep enjoying life. As hard as that is for me to even write, after all I am human; I feel guilty and sad and angry all at the same time.
I may not physically have her anymore, but I would be damned before she would ever let me be alone. I have to find peace in this new normal.
She once told me to listen to her and I would get through anything today and forever. Her instructions were simple: to kill them with kindness, to remember that I am a freaking Palm, to not let anything get in my way and that she was proud of me.
I have no issues about where she is, I am at peace knowing that she was greeted in heaven by Grandpop and her Poppee. I know that she let out a loud IKEEEEEEEE, and gave our Great Aunt Cas one of those tight warm hugs that only Gigi could give. She wouldn’t want us to sit around and cry over her, she’d want us to love one another, and to enjoy life… “because we are Palm’s and that’s what we do!”
I’ve got one crazy, loud, supportive guardian angel now. I know she will continue to do all of those things she did on earth from above.
As we round out the year, please know that life is short. Say what you want to say, love those who you love, take the risk, go after your dreams, hug your family and friends, bury the hatchet- whatever it is… do it.
I’ve got to get up, get to getting, and keep moving. I may not know what I need, or what to do right now, but she’s going to keep reminding me to live, because she was always selfless in that way.
I have no issues with God about why you needed to leave right now. My issue is that you were my person, you were always supposed to be here and I keep thinking I’ve got more time.
I’ll love you forever, and I look forward to running into your arms for a huge hug again one day. I’m not sure how to do this life without you, but I’ll give it my best shot G. I’ll listen to that voicemail a few thousand more times just to hear you say you love me once more. I’ll let myself have a good cry now and then, and pick my chin up like you always told me to.
I need you. I miss you. I love you.