Grandpa was dead. This was something I would have to get used to.
When the services were over, it was the time for family and close friends to gather and console one another. I had never been to a memorial, I’d never lost anyone so close to me. I felt nauseous and dizzy, without appetite or thirst. My grandpa had been gone for only seven days and I missed him. I missed him a lot.
I had stopped fighting tears and stood in my aunt and uncle’s kitchen, trying to hide in plain sight. Every time I’d wandered off to a bathroom or bedroom for space, someone would appear shortly after asking if I was okay. So I stood there, showing everyone what I’d prefer to be doing in private: crying.
A young woman approached, introduced herself by a name I wouldn’t remember.
“I worked for your grandpa,” she said. I nodded and tried to smile. “I recently had a baby,” she continued.
I truly couldn’t care less.
“That’s nice,” I said, “congratulations.” My voice dead and flat.
The young woman could tell I was half-listening, she stammered quickly to keep my attention, “and before they knew — before I knew it was a boy, everyone was suggesting baby names for me. Your grandpa came up to me one day and said, ‘If it’s a girl, you should name her Thea.’”
The young woman smiled at me. I stared, confused.
“I didn’t realize that he had a granddaughter named Thea until you read your poem at the memorial,” she leaned in closer to me and whispered, “I think you were his favorite,” reaching out and touching me on the arm. She gave my bicep a soft squeeze and smiled again.
I thanked her — I think — the young woman walked away, I never saw her again. But I thought about her, for a long time after.