“I love you” too late


A photo of myself and my grandmother in 2002.

I wish I had done more….I wish I had done more….

The same six words circled around my brain as I sat still. My cold hands were folded in my lap as I stared into nothing. The sound of heavy, deep breaths filled the air in the room, since there was nothing to say; nothing to say that would make anything better.

I wish I said more…I wish I said more…

Again, thoughts clouded my mind, haunting me and creating regret within me. I remember how she looked in the hospital bed, her weak hands that she could barely move because she had no strength left, her sunken, swollen eyes and puffy cheeks. I remember she couldn’t speak. The only sounds that came out from between her lips were groans and cries of pain. I remember my mother crying after seeing how weak she was, how much pain God put her through. And today, I see my mother crying those same tears.

I’m sorry I wasn’t there…I’m sorry I wasn’t there…

I remember how she looked when she got out of the hospital. I remember her sitting on her red chair in the corner, surrounded by family photos and sitting next to the fireplace. I remember my grandpa by her side, tending to her constantly. I never knew what to say. What could I possibly say to my grandma, whom I loved, dying of a destructive breast cancer that made her unable to be herself. Instead, I watched her look at me, her empty eyes and sadness written all over her face. And I would stare back with my mouth sewn shut.

I didn’t know what to do… I should’ve known what to do…

I remember going to see her less and less. Whenever my mom asked me to come with her, I would put my head down and shake my head ‘no.’ I didn’t want to keep seeing her if I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to keep seeing her if all I would do is watch her be in pain and struggle with simple tasks. I didn’t want to see my mother cry in front of her because she didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t want to cry because of everything I didn’t do.

Eventually, I went to see my grandma one day. She was lying in her bed, her head turned toward the window where a ray of sunlight poured in. I remember walking into her room and sitting down on her bed. I remember holding her weak hand in mine, and her turning to face me. The look on her face made me tear up, and at that moment, I knew the mistake I made.

“Why don’t you love me anymore? You never come see me.”

The words hit me hard, and still echo in my mind often. They haunt me to this day, reminding me of the mistake I made by avoiding going to see my grandma when I should have. I should have visited, I should have made an effort; but now, there isn’t time for me to do that.

“I do love you…Of course I still love you…”

I told her that, but it was too late to show it.