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In 2010, I never expected to start my New Year like this, sitting in my car, feeling a mixture of numbness and anxiety. Numb to the disbelief that someone I knew in my whole life is gone. I just saw Granny a few days ago when she wanted to give me my birthday gift. Though she was in the hospital, secretly hiding her pain because she dreaded having the family worry about her, Granny still wanted to bless me with a gift. I felt anxious because I wanted to see her body. I wanted to personally say goodbye. I wanted to touch her. Though her spirit has left her body, I wanted to say goodbye and hope she could hear me in Heaven.

While waiting for the rest of the family members to arrive at the funeral home to review and approve her image, memories kept popping out of my head like hot popcorn. One minute I was thinking about the time that you forced me to help you shell butterbeans and then I had to watch the Price Is Right Game Show with you. Another moment came when you kept complaining to my Dad about the sandwich, he brought you and stated that you wished that you had me to bring you a sandwich. While tears slowly dripped like ice cycles melting, I thought about Christmas, when you walked around the house around 5am to wake the whole family up. I’m going to miss our competitive, trash-talking UNO card game matches. If UNO was an Olympic sport, my Granny would have been the most decorated athlete of all time.

When the rest of the family members came, without hesitation I jumped out of my car and burst into the funeral home. Looking left and right, I was directed towards her body to view and approve with the rest of the family. Seeing you lying there, felt like my heart and soul colliding on the floor. In disbelief, I stared at you. Our request of having your favorite purse in the casket was made. I wanted you to hold some UNO cards in your hands, but I was outvoted. Wishing this wasn't real. But no matter how much I wish it wasn't, I had to realize that your time was expired. I still can’t believe that we were planning your funeral.

During Granny’s funeral, the church was filled with many mourners. I had family members that couldn't attend but left messages that were read during the funeral. I even met relatives that I heard Granny speak about, but never saw them in person. Staring at her casket, I cracked a smile and realized that I did something that many people wish they could have done. As Granny used to tell me often, "Give me my flowers while I'm alive, not when I'm gone. Tell me that you love me while I'm here, not when I'm not here no more." I’m glad to say that I did that and more!

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