College Crisis: When You Can’t Say Goodbye

Our college years are full of dramatic “I’m not a grown up!” moments- mostly unexpected, and typically unwanted. Anonymous Valley writers discuss it all, from avoiding basic responsibilities to dealing with the big, bad future. Let’s talk about it.

ShantelleWilliams.CollegeCrisis (3)If, while I was choosing colleges I had known that I had less than two years left with my grandma, I would’ve made a different choice. Given my financial situation, I should’ve done the 2+2 program, but I was too stubborn. I had worked hard to get accepted into University Park, and I was going to come here no matter what.

My grandma was diagnosed with leukemia shortly after Thanksgiving 2012. On Thursday January 10th, my mom called me to tell me I was probably going to come home for the day that Sunday to see my grandma because she wasn’t doing well, but that there wasn’t really any rush. Within 20 minutes, my mom called me again saying she was picking me up the next day to come home for the weekend to say goodbye to my favorite person in the world.

I never prayed harder in my life than I did that night. I prayed that I would be able to be there with my grandma, that I would be able to see her one last time and tell her how much I loved her.

My favorite person in the world passed away at 5:13 AM on January 11th, 2013, and I found out about it in the middle of the afternoon on Pollock Road more than 150 miles away from home. I had to hold it together for half an hour before I got back to my apartment. My mom told me that before she passed, my mom had given her a kiss from all of us who couldn’t make it. My grandmother died with her husband and children around her, knowing how much she was loved.

I ultimately ended up missing my entire second week of classes. While catching up with the work was hard, it was nothing compared to those times where I thought “Oh, I should call Grandma and tell her I love her,” only to remember that I couldn’t.

I must have cried more in the first two months than I had in my entire life. I had heard of deceased loved ones coming to visit people in dreams before, but that hadn’t happened to me. Truth be told, I started losing faith in everything.

Right after spring break I had to go back home to get a tooth worked on. During that weekend, my mom and I talked about my grandma a lot. The night before I came back to school, I finally had a dream about the most special woman in the world. I got to hug my grandma for the first time in months.

My grandma isn’t here physically, but after that, I’ve learned that she is still around me, getting annoyed with my crying over her. I can see her now – she’s up there sitting on a rocking chair outside, smoking a cigarette and smiling because I’m pursuing my dream of writing, and I know how proud she is of me.

Photo by Shantelle Williams


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