tears of the past
By Maxine Babb
Sometimes, we surprise ourselves in the ways we act in certain situations that life throws at us. This piece tells of my first encounter with this lesson.
It was a rainy, grey day. My dad, sister, god sister, and I stayed in the car while my mom went to pick up some supplies in Walgreens. All of a sudden I felt the mood change in the car. My dad looked at me with the saddest eyes (these eyes I’ve never seen from him before). That’s when he told me that my grandma had passed away. I was absolutely distraught. I was nine, so naturally my body reacted before my mind did. I remember stopping for a few seconds to let it register—the fact that I’ll never see her again. The fact that I’d have to remember all nine of the years that I’ve known her so that she wouldn’t become just another forgotten memory (she deserved more than that). The fact that I never knew that last time that I saw her would be the last. While everything was still registering in my head, my body had a totally different reaction. I drowned out everything and started kicking and hitting everything in sight while yelling “NO” repeatedly (it was all too much. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe it but that it was all too much to believe. I can’t believe I’m reliving such a painful moment now. These are the moments that I decide to put in a deep dark corner where no one can ever see them. I can’t believe I just told you that either). I felt like the whole car was closing in on me, like I couldn’t breathe.
Years later I’m actually kind of surprised that I wasn’t in denial at first. Maybe I’m just not that type of person but, now that I think about it, I was probably having a panic attack. My mother was probably so confused when she came back with a bunch of groceries and saw me ugly crying in my dad’s car. This was my first death. I didn’t know how to treat these types of situations. After that day, I kept thinking about me and my grandma’s relationship. Whenever she had me I would always cry because I always wanted to be up under my mom, and all my grandmother ever wanted to do was spend some time with me. She would always try any and everything just to see me smile and I took it for granted. I knew she felt bad whenever I cried but I never thought about that. All I was ever thinking about was getting back home to see my mom. I spent the longest time blaming myself for that, and I still partly do.
After I caused the big scene in the car, my dad held me tight. I’m pretty sure he did it so that 1) I wouldn’t put dents in his car and 2) he could calm me down. It must’ve been hard for him to watch me in that state. My mom came back to the car pretty confused, and my dad let her know what was going on. The drive from Walgreens to our home was pretty quick. Once we got there my little sister and god sister went into my room to play and my parents sat with me on the couch. While we sat on the couch, we were honoring her memory by talking about all the good times we’ve had: like when we went to a Spiderman Broadway play, Turn Off the Dark for Father’s Day, or when my mom and I went to see the movie HOP with her and then went to a BBQ after. I kept looking at one of the last pictures my sister and I took with her and I started tearing up again. We were in a restaurant together and she had her arm wrapped around us. I was still in shock, but I kept my composure this time. To this day, you can still see the teardrops I left on that picture.
I was inspired by my want to explore more into non-fictional writing and one way to do that was to write more about my own life experiences and how they impacted me. In this piece, I decided to write about the passing of my grandmother, this topic is always hard to write/talk about. In the process, there were some tears, there were feelings of vulnerability, and even some feelings of guilt. In the end, I was able to do something that I haven’t done in a long time and face some suppressed emotions by doing what I love most: creating.
Maxine Babb is a 16-year-old African American girl who was born and raised in New York City. She is very proud of where she came from. She lives with her younger sister and her two parents. She has always shown a deep love for writing and fashion for as long as she can remember, there's nothing that excites her more. She's a passionate and driven writer. She doesn't plan to stop making the people around her proud and sharing her voice with the world.