Seven years ago this day I was silly teenager doing silly teenager things when I received news that would forever change who I would become. My maternal grandmother passed away in Jamaica, not because of the cancer that was destroying her but the after effects of the chemotherapy that was supposed to help. She was a lively and outgoing woman who loved to travel and her children even more. Someone who remained with you long after they’ve left your side, a beautiful soul.
Like most teens I was wrapped up in my own world and I was unsure of how to react. I desperately wanted to be tough, not to crack, not to show an ounce of emotion. Pretending to be nihilistic, being around terrible people, and getting the short end of the stick all contributed to my desire to remain indifferent upon hearing the news. But I know better now, I was truly unable to handle her passing. Unable to process all of the adult emotions and decisions that came with death.
Since I was a child I thought as a child. I felt like bottling any and all emotions would be the solution, little did I know I would break down at her funeral in Jamaica.
I was given the opportunity to speak at her funeral and I did not take it lightly. Although the poem I had written was terrible it was an excellent representation of how I truly felt and my body followed suit during its delivery. An internal chaos came into full view: my voice began to crack, I broke out in a sweat, and my hands trembled in the church filled with family, family friends, some unsavory characters, and people who did not deserve to be there. Never before did I ever shed tears in front of that many people.
…and in that moment it dawned on me. How could I be so cold? How could I not cry for and miss my grandmother, my fatty boom boom? I felt so terrible, the only thing I could do was tune out for the rest of the ceremony.
The drive from the church to the cemetery was long and not even the perfection of the weather could bring me out of my mood. I missed her dearly, and felt so alone in the world. It was a melancholy trip home that allowed me to alter my views, mature a bit and make me more capable of handling life back in New York City. It was life changing.
Esmie Walters-Tuckers: October 26, 1939 to May 8, 2006 loved for eternity.