A year ago today I moved away from my mom for the first time. I had two weeks to find a place. I was really hurt. I felt like she was leaving me. Yes, she only moved to New Jersey… but my mom is my best friend and I felt like she was being taken away from me.
I also had no idea what it was like to live with roommates. How do I clean an oven?
Two weeks later, I found an apartment on the app Roomi with two girls. I felt really lonely. After work, I ran straight to my bedroom. I would hear the laughs from my roommates and I would be on the other side of the door crying.
Three months later I received a call from my aunt during work. “Your grandpa isn’t doing well. I think this might be it.” I’ve dreaded this day for years. I haven’t seen my grandpa in seven years and for some reason, I anticipated this moment. I have carried guilt for years because I hardly called him. He loved me and took care of me when I was younger and I felt that I ruined our relationship. Now I am flying to North Carolina to say my final goodbye.
I walked into my grandpa’s room at the nursing home not knowing what to expect. “Hey Tina!” his voice is exactly as I remembered it. I walked over to him lying in his bed and his appearance scared me. He looked so fragile. Almost unrecognizable.
Two days later I had to fly back home. I stood over him and was unsure of how to say goodbye. A part of me was hoping that he will still be here for Christmas. I can visit then, right? I can make things right. I touched his hand and said bye. He didn’t respond. Did he hear me?
Two days later he passed away and I flew back to North Carolina.
Work was getting busy with the holidays. I remember feeling so numb because I was tired of working in the retail industry. I felt robotic. I felt like I didn’t have a purpose in this world. I remember a specific moment when I was pushing items onto the sales floor and praying for something more. “I want to help people. There has to be a greater reason why I am here.”
A month later my roommate and I found out that my other roommate will be moving before the lease ends. We decided to move together at the same time that our roommate left. The day that we moved into our new apartment, I started working as a Student Success Mentor at LaGuardia Community College.
Three months later I decided to stay for a few months with my mom in New Jersey. During this time, I lost two jobs due to the pandemic. Luckily, I was able to keep my position as a Student Success Mentor.
Three months later and I am home in Astoria. Some days I feel empty.
I like to think about where I will be in a year. What will be my story? A year from today, what will I say?