Dear Mrs. P,
You could say that I was one of the luckiest kids in the world after meeting you and Mr. P because I ended up with another set of grandparents. I mean, it’s amazing enough that both of my dad’s parents and my mom’s mom were alive and well and showering me with gifts and love (priorities), and then you guys came into my life, all thanks to uncle R, and that tripled everything! Life was good.
I remember the first time I met you Mrs. P, you were so energetic and so full of life and that smile you always wore seemed to light me up whenever I looked at you! I used to wonder, how someone so old had the energy of a child! Forgive me but I was only around ten years old at that time, and old people to me were nothing but white hair, veined hands and hospital beds.My knowledge was limited, obviously.
I absolutely loved it when we came over to visit you guys and loved it more when you guys came over. Mr. P had the best stories up his sleeve and you Mrs. P, your mere presence was enough to comfort anyone around you.
And then you had the idea of sending letters! Well, those were fun and then it got more addicting as the months wore on! I would check the mailbox every single day for your letter, just waiting to find out what you and Mr.P were up to, what your granddaughter was up to and of course, the box of chocolates that came along with it was the highlight. And I couldn’t wait to reply to your letters, tell you all about my friends, my parents, my school and my life in the city!
And, well, the time came for me to grow up.
I think “I grew up” is one of the most pathetic excuses ever to have been wrought by man, but it sounds technically viable. I grew up, I became a teenager. So many changes within a short span of time and while all these were taking place, I didn’t realize the letters stopped. I did think about it, once or twice, but I never spared it much thought. I’m guessing you guys did wonder why the last letter went unreplied but you guys understood, gave me space and waited. I didn’t forget you two, but I did forget about keeping in touch.
And then we met up, less frequently but we always fell back into our old pattern of fun and stories.
And then a few years later, I heard about your cancer. I didn’t fully understand about it’s devastating effect in the beginning, to be honest Mrs. P. All I knew was that you had to get better. I met you during one of your chemo sessions. I was surprised by your obvious physical changes, but you still had that glow and that naughty sparkle in your eyes and boy, was I relieved! You were still, you.
And then we parted ways, never to speak again, only the occasional phone calls. I would think about reaching you but then I would get caught up with other things. And then I’d remember you had cancer but you were absolutely fine, so far. I mean, what could go wrong?
And three years later, when we were visiting my grandparents, my dad said we should visit you guys! I was happy but I had this feeling that was eating me up from the inside. Was it guilt? Was it shame? I pushed it aside when we stepped into your house.
There you were, in your wheelchair, smiling radiantly as ever, with a slight tired undertone, but smiling, nonetheless. Mr. P gave us his usual booming welcome. But, something seemed out of place and I couldn’t quite place my finger on it. I noticed little things, like how Mr. P kept darting glances at you every 5 seconds and how you didn’t meet our eyes while you kept talking about the most random of things.
And suddenly, I knew. I knew you were dying. That was why I couldn’t talk to you properly that day Mrs. P. Didn’t you ask me , playfully, about how quiet and shy I had suddenly become? Well, how could I look at you and smile and laugh along when I knew you were going to die any second? So, I contented myself with just listening to you talk and gossip with everyone else. I did catch Mr. P’s eyes but I looked away because there was nothing I could do.
I’m sorry Mrs. P. I was selfish. I should’ve just been my normal self and kept talking and laughing along with everyone else, knowing that it was our last few minutes with you. I should’ve just talked to you. Just said a few words.
And then, well, you died. I heard Mr. P was devastated but he seems to be fine nowadays. He loved you a lot, as you may have already known. We all did.
We weren’t related by blood, but blood doesn’t necessarily make one family. I still think about writing a letter to Mr. P, but I keep deciding against it, and I cannot, for the life of me, fathom the reason why! But I will do it, eventually!
What say you, Mrs. P?