Time ticks on

Great-grandmother’s death leaves void in heart of sophomore

Story by Kailyn Williams, Staff writer

Throughout life, we are all destined to lose a loved one. It’s an awful, unavoidable rite of passage. Whether it be a distant relative you didn’t even know you had, or a grandparent, feeling the loss of someone close to you never gets easier. 

Upon the loss, no one really knows how to console you. “I’m sorry for your loss,” and “They’re in a better place now,” never really help. You move past the comment with an empty “thank you” and go about your day. For me, the hardest condolence to accept was “it will heal with time.” 

My great grandmother was what I consider to be my best friend. I’m said to be her twin. I was a little girl with a sassy attitude, and Gigi was the same in a wiser body. We were the same person, she was my other half. 

I spent a lot of time in her house, and I can remember those days perfectly. I’d go in and make her put on Spongebob for me, she’d go in the next room and turn on her old western show. Every now and again I’d hear her scream out my name to make sure I wasn’t burning the house down. 

Gigi was a bright light in my life, no matter how crazy she was. I’d play dress-up in her church hats, and she’d parade me around the house telling everyone to look at how good I’d looked. She was truly the greatest person I’ve known.

Life was perfect with Codell Clark-Williams, until it wasn’t. 

Days following Thanksgiving of 2013, my great grandmother went into the hospital with troubles breathing. She was diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and was never released from St. Michael’s Hospital.

Dec 18, 2013. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was in school and we were watching the Polar Express on pajama day. My teacher’s phone rang and I thought nothing of it. “Kailyn, your mom is in the front office.” I was ecstatic, as any 8-year-old would be, about being checked out of school early. I gathered my candy bags and walked to the office.

Through the office window, I saw my mom sitting in a chair by the receptionist’s desk. She was pale, like she was sick. Still unaware of the circumstances, I gave my mom a hug and we went to the car. 

She puts the car in drive and we leave the school and drive towards St. Michael’s Hospital. After arriving at the hospital, I saw my dad waiting for us at the front. This made me panic because he was visibly in tears, and I’d never seen him cry. I got out of the car and he delivered the news.

A blanket of pressure covered my body, I was engulfed in heartache. My best friend had passed away. Understanding what had happened was difficult for me because of how young I was. Losing someone for the first time, especially someone so close to you, is hard for an 8-year-old little girl. 

My dad carried me up to the room I had just visited a few days prior, except this time she wasn’t laughing with us. She was lying peacefully, with no more beeping machines, no more tubes or wires. It was just her, the Gigi I’d remembered from before the hospital. I gave her a hug and laid there for a second wondering how a day that started off as fun and exciting could turn to this. 

Her death made me physically ill. For days after at school teachers had thought I’d caught the Flu. I was asked if I was okay, and I couldn’t answer without breaking into tears. 

Then came the empty words of sympathy as people tried to fill an unfillable hole. Like I said before, I remember people telling me that as time went on, her passing would be easier to deal with. I have found that to be the opposite of true. 

As time progresses and as years go by, she misses more Christmases and birthdays. Milestones she wasn’t there to watch me pass, hardships she wasn’t there to see me overcome. As time progresses and as years go by, I am only becoming more distanced from her. The picture I have of her in my head becomes less and less clear, and I no longer have memory of the voice I was once so fond of. There is only so much I can do to have a physical connection to her without holding her hand. 

In exchange for her hugs, I parade around in her hats, and sleep in the socks my Nana gave me that had belonged to Gigi. I go on each year, visiting her gravesite, adding flowers, and praying that the time that is supposed to heal me would slow down. The virus of time continues to tick on and on furthering me from my Gigi, and growing the void that lies in my heart.