"Burnt Grilled Cheese" (The Pauw Wow)

The Pauw Wow (Saint Peter's University Student Newspaper); Published Tuesday, May 7th 2013

The Pauw Wow (Saint Peter's University Student Newspaper); Published Tuesday, May 7th 2013

On a cold, black night in the dead winter, a scream is heard that will shatter the still winds and many hearts to come.

This scream came from my Mom, who has just suffered a giant aneurysm two centimeters wide in her brain, instantly filling her head with blood. Her last words were to my father, “No, it’s a sharp pain.” My Mom spent the next three days in the Intensive Care Unit of Bayonne Medical Center, unable to move, speak, or even breathe. Finally, on Sunday, January 6th, my Mom was pronounced clinically dead at 4:23 pm.

She left behind many who loved her: friends, co-workers, several nieces, nephews, and cousins, five older brothers and sisters, my father, my sister, and myself. My Mom touched many lives and hearts, some that will never fully recover from her sudden departure. This loss has especially affected my father, whom I have seen cry more times than I would care for.

She took all that she could take with her, which was only her spirit. Her things are still here, cluttering the closets and dressers and drawers and other various spots throughout our house. But most importantly, her love is still here and I can still feel it within me; a love so warm and lasting, I may never know true coldness.

When someone’s mother passes away or they experience another form of great tragedy, that person gets treated differently. Sometimes I feel people treat me like an artifact in a ruin, an object so old that the slightest whisper in the wrong direction could force me to crumble into a pile of ash and dust. In order to be preserved, I must be daintily handled and put in a calm, sterile environment.

But what most people do not realize  is that bringing up my Mother does not plunge me back into an abyss of dark despair. The bleak truth is that I am always there. It is hard to go more than a few minutes without thinking about my Mother, especially when I am at home where her presence lingers like a gentle scent throughout the house. It is not something that I could take a holiday or vacation from.

To be truthful, I want people to bring up my Mother around me. Then I could tell them that her hugs were so tight that I can still feel them wrap around my body today. I could tell them that she made the best grilled cheese sandwiches, the ones that when you rip it in half, the melted cheese cascades down to the plate in perfect, gooey strands. I could also tell them that she is one of the greatest women I have and will ever know, one that I still strive to make proud even though she is no longer physically here. I could also mention that her love was so open and so vast that there was plenty for anyone seeking it.

While I may strain to hold back the tears when I talk about my Mother, I want more people to know about the type of person that she was. I want more people to know her story because I believe that the only way she truly dies is if people cease to talk or forget about her.

There will be plenty of more tears to come, but every tear shed is only a tiny, salty reminder that what I had with my Mom was something truly special. She gave me twenty years that were paradise, filled with experiences that I would not give up for any treasure found within the universe.

The grilled cheeses will be burnt, the tears will be plentiful, and the home will be a little cooler. However, her love will continue to grow and expand as the people she touched carry the spirit of her close with them and, in that way, my Mother will never truly die. (Link)