Losing your best friend at age 4

Sharing this is more than heart wrenching. The memory breaks me every time I share it.

When my grandmother died, she was 52 years old. Her name was Rosa Garcia. I never met her but my mother cared for her as she was very ill. Two weeks after she passed, my mom learned that she was pregnant with me. My mom heard God tell her, “I am taking one love, but giving you another.”

4 years, that’s I all the time I got with my grandfather before he passed too. Most believe it was from a broken heart and he loved my grandmother deeply. The memories I had with him were so long ago, but I remember them so clearly. As if I could reach out and grab them.

It was the night before he died, I was on my way from Safford to Franklin in the back seat on, my way to my dad’s parents house for the night. I had the worst feeling. Still, that feeling is incomparable. Thinking about makes my stomach turn and my heart sink. I remember leaning up to tell mom, “I need to go see Grandpa Nick, today!” Over and over again I asked and told her I felt like he was going to die and I needed to see him.

She assured me, as any mother would that her dad would be okay.

Everything that happen that afternoon, I remember. From the book I picked for my grandma Jo to read to me to laying in bed wide awake knowing that my grandpa was not going to be there the next day.

It happened.

That very next day, my grandpa died.

He was my best friend. Only 4 years old and I remember him so well. The way he smelt, the roughness of his hands. Sitting on his lap, his voice telling me to get an ice cream sandwich out of the freezer. The excitement in his eyes when he would bring me watermelons and dolls.

I picked out a green dress for the funeral, because it was his favorite color. I held my moms hand as we walked up to his tomb to see the body. The pain still haunts me.

When he died, my mom gave me the blanket that we had given to him for his birthday. Though I am 24 now, I still sleep with it every night with the exception of a few days.

My purpose in writing this is not to bring fear when telling a child that someone they love has died. Rather, I want to express that children are so impressionable, and emotionally open at a young age. Do tell them. Let them feel the pain and learn how to process it.

Today we celebrate my Grandpa Nick’s birthday. Year by year, the memories don’t fade but the pain does.

I will forever be grateful for my grandfather and the lessons I learned from him.

-Audrey

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