After I graduated high school, I received my first acceptance letter from a university in Riyadh. This is the capital city, but is located about two hours from my hometown, which was unfortunate. Due to my father’s job my family could not accompany me so I moved into my grandmother’s house for the time being. It was nice though because she lived very close to the university I would be studying at. Homesickness suck in very quickly, I wasn’t sure about that decision. I cried a lot because I know how organized my grandfather is. He constantly would complain if I left anything out of place. He also enjoys quietness and implementing strict rules that everyone is to follow. I would constantly vent to my mother about living in such an empty and quiet house. I felt so lonely and confused while staying there. Despite all of these problems I was able to make the best out of my situation. My mother suggested I move in with her parents and they accepted this idea.
On my first day of living with my grandparents I was welcomed with open arms. We spent the day enjoying great food, talked about many things, including my siblings. We also discussed my education and they motivated me. My mother was the youngest one in her family, so she was the favorite of my grandparents. My grandparents were very happy I was there, my grandmother prepared a room for me with a small table so I can put my books to study on.
During the semester I was waking up early to go to university and was surprised every morning with delicious breakfast foods that my grandmother would make. Traditional foods like eggs and bread were cooked and ready for me. She also prepared snacks for me, even though she knew the school had snacks already. She claimed it was no bother and continued to do this the entire time I studied.
My class was started from 8 a.m. and finished at 4:00 p.m. every day. When it was time to go home I found her waiting for me in the yard. She was always telling me that “your mom left you here with me so I have to take care of you”. She always told me that she feels happy to do these things for me because it reminded her of the old days when she was doing this to my aunts and uncles. In the night, after preparing dinner, we used to wash dishes together and I remember how she was sitting at the table each night with my grandfather. She was siting their while I finished with the dishes to tell me about how life was in the past. Of all her stories the ones I enjoyed most were how her and my grandfather fell in love and pregnancies with each of her children. She always had such passion while telling these ones, she loved her family more than anything else in this world. I also was fortunate enough to hear stories from when she took care of me as a baby. When my grandmother talked everyone was silent and listened. She had a sort of unique perspective on things. I admire her for many reasons!
Days passed so quickly and I began to feel sad. I knew graduation would be here soon and my living arrangements would change. I remember during exam week I was unable to sit at the table with my grandmother anymore, that thought alone brought upon even more sadness to me. I remember a specific incident that occurred during the morning of my exam. I was up all night preparing for this exam in mathematics. I fell asleep with little time before the exam. My alarms never went off and my grandmother did not wake me up. I remember rushing to her room after finally waking up and she looked quite unusual. Her once so pleasant face was marked with a shadowing frown. When asked what was wrong she replied that her and grandfather had a fight. I’ve never seen my grandmother look like this before.
I went to university but I wasn’t feeling comfortable because my mind was still with her. When I finished my exam. I went home directly. I didn’t find any one there. I was so afraid, I called my mom to see if she knew where they were. She told me that my grandmother fell down and was sent to the hospital. My mom was crying while on the phone, which really scared me. My father came to take me to my sisters. He was so nervous he didn’t say a word I asked what happened and he answered me saying that “your grandmother wasn’t feeling well and they took her to the hospital. My siblings and I stayed at home for three days without my mother and father. It was not what we are accustomed to. Our mother is the queen of the house and nothing is the same without her. My father was also very distant during this time. I felt like no one in the family was in a good mindset. My mother never answered any of the calls I sent her. I never knew this horrible feeling before this incident. I called several other family members but no one seemed to have the time of day for me.
My grandmother wasn’t just as any grandmother she was so lovely, full with energy she used to invite us all to sleep in her house during every occasions possible. She was a very strong woman and I admire her very much. The doctors were even telling us that she was doing very well and was able to leave the hospital. Everyone rejoiced for we had missed her terribly. I prayed for her and now God was finally making it happen. Upon her arrival the entire family prepared a wonderful feast to welcome her back properly.
My grandmother, like many others hates hospitals. So we wanted to make her arrival something special of course. We cleaned and cooked and put on the best attitudes we could so she would be pleased. None of us knew how many things she did until she was gone. We all awaited her to return home, little did we know that was not going to happen. I remember staring at the wall, focusing on its movement waiting for her, but the door never opened to my grandma. My uncle told us she had passed after he arrived to our home. Each of us were speechless. My sisters were crying loudly, I was stand in shocked. I never even cried that day.
The following day we viewed her body for the last time. She looked nothing like herself. Her skin had a gray tint to it and she was as stiff as a rock. I wished so badly she would have awakened and been okay. I felt like I didn’t get enough time with her, like I would have done anything to get more. This was my first time witnessing a dead person. It was a sort of twisted experience. Although I had great faith that she would be taken straight to heaven for my grandmother was an angle. I feel that knowing these things and having strong faith makes these tragedies a little better. I am thankful for all the wonderful opportunities and experiences I had while she was on earth. No one was prepared to lose her but there is nothing we can do. I learned many lessons from her that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.