I felt like someone punched me in the gut, knocking the wind right out of me. I had this burning pain in the pit of my stomach that I'd only ever felt a few times before in my life-- The same feeling I got when my mom called and told me that Amma had died a week earlier.
I know she's in a better place regardless of if there's a heaven or not. Her dementia got so bad near the end that anywhere else would be a better place than in her fraying mind and aging body. But still, my heart hurts knowing that she is gone forever.
Dementia stole so much from my grandma, but sometimes there would be a flicker of the old Amma that would emerge. Every now and again it seemed like she would steal a moment back from the brain altering disorder, and even just for a minute she was there.
And now, there are no more of those minutes. No more of the bad ones either. All that is left are my memories. I'm grateful for those, but they'll never be enough and I am scared they too will start to fade. I am scared that I will forget what she smelled like, or the sound of her voice. I am scared I will forget how her hands felt like old, soft tissue paper, or that I will forget the way she used to say "mmm-hmmm and uh-huh" with a smile when we'd tell her a story.
I feel like I lost her twice; once to dementia and once to death. Although she was old, and she lived a very long and good life, that kind of logic doesn't seem to soothe my heartache. Only time will.
I suppose, standing there in the holiday chocolate isle at Costco, I was still getting used to the fact that Amma is gone. Everything was normal until that second when I realized the new normal is that I will never buy her another giant box of chocolates for Christmas. I will never go visit her at the nursing home, I will never hug her or kiss her, and I will never see her again.
Grief is such a strange thing. When it washes over you it can make you feel a million different emotions all at once. It's such a personal experience; different for everyone, yet the same in that you are mourning and dealing with a loss.
I already know that time is the only thing that can mend a broken heart. I know that my sadness will never be completely gone, but in time my heart will begin to heal and when I think of Amma, or when I see a giant box of chocolates that I know she would have liked for Christmas, it will fill me with happiness and warmth.
Right now it's hard, but I am grateful for all the time we spent together when she was alive and all the memories we made.
I miss you Amma.