I got news from home that my grandmom passed away yesterday in Vietnam. Duy and I were looking at some stuff in a small shop by NYU when I heard him mumbling: Oh shit. Right at that moment, I knew exactly what happened.
My grandmom had an infection when she was younger that took away one of her eyes. She almost always smelled like eucalyptus oil because she got cold easily. We were not particularly close because I grew up in the city. Seven hours away. We saw each other twice a year. Once during Lunar New Year. Once during summer. Starting at six years old, my father would drop me off at my grandparents' country home and pick me up three months later. When my grandpa was still alive, he would do everything in his power to entertain the spoiled city brat (aka me). But he passed in 1998, so did my connection with my grandmom.
For a long time, she was just there. She cooked a meal that could feed a village for me. She boiled some herbs to wash my hair. She would prepare my bed and clean up my mess. She would yell at my cousins and make them hang out with me. We did not talk much because the conversations usually get interrupted with me running away. But she would be there. Every Lunar New Year. Every summer. Doing the exact same things that made me comfortable.
Since I moved away, we saw each other about three times in a span of ten years. In my mind, I always think of her as one of the pillars in my life that would just be there. Forever. But now she's gone. And all I feel is this vast emptiness crawling in my soul.