a year ago, I remember.

a year ago I was drowning myself in work — the school year was ending and my internship as a teacher was over.

a year ago it was thursday, and I was getting ready to leave the next day to Lisbon with some of my students for a contest. 

a year ago I didn’t know what was going to come next but even so, I managed to take a couple of hours of my day and go to my aunt’s place to just keep her company. we had learned that she had pancreatic cancer barely a week from that and I wanted to let her know that I thought she should do chemo because we never know!

Exactly a year ago my aunt went to the hospital with a severe stroke that paralyzed all her left side.

I only saw her talk just a few times after that.

One long conversation with me and my mum…and what she said I will never ever forget.

“I don’t want you to go” she said. 

We didn’t want to go either. but I remember thinking that that was a sign she was getting better, that tomorrow we could talk again!

Cancerous cells that travelled to her brain and put her in the hospital… from where she never left. 

I remember the long hours I stood by her bed, holding her hand and hearing myself talk to her… I believe she was listening. 

I remember how I’d give her water… and how she tried to pull the tubes out of her nose that were there to feed her.

I remember the feel of her skin and how she held my hand tight when the nurses came, letting me know that she didn’t want me to go. 

“are you her daughter?” the nurses asked, to which I responded “almost. I’m her niece” and she squeezed my hand tighter. 

I remember how I felt when I asked the doctor if she could start chemo in that state and he told me, without looking me in the eye, that the only thing we could do now was to make her feel nothing. 

Painless. they said. 

I saw her. I knew she wasn’t painless. that was just plain bullshit. 

I remember when she stopped opening her eyes… and I remember the day when I knew. I knew she wasn’t supposed to feel like that any longer… and she wasn’t herself anymore. So I knew. 

It’s so weird when your brain knows one thing but your heart tells you something else.

I remember this day, exactly a year ago. 

I remember the pain, the fear, the uncertainty. 

I remember her hand on mine and I remember her looking me directly in the eyes… as they took her in a wheel chair to the ambulance. She never went back to her home. 

a year ago… that I remember just like yesterday.