My brother is sitting to my left and my sister to my right. We’re in the car on our way to Östersund and it is the Summer of 2015. Our father is driving and mom is in the passengers seat. It’s like the good old days during summer when we all went on family-trips together to our paternal grandpa and grandma. We always thought the 600K journey was worth it because we knew how much we would enjoy being there. We knew we would get to swim in the ice-cold water by their pier, listen to grandpa’s mesmerizing storytelling, eat grandmas food, sleep in the basement with timber beams over her heads, read Kalle Anka till’ we fell asleep and have grandma and grandpa kiss us goodnight.
This time it’s different. The overall mood in the car is gloomy. It’s as if we are followed by a black cloud, hovering, only above our car. See, this time it’s time for us to kiss grandma goodnight. Forever.
I’m sitting quietly hoping we will make it in time. When death is creeping up on someone it can strike faster than expected.
I don’t have to keep my hopes up for very long because after ten minutes on the road, my fathers’ phone rings.
He picks up and I hear it’s my uncle Mats, who is with grandma. Next thing I know my father stops the car, leans over the steering wheel and repeats loudly to himself “I should have gone yesterday, I should have gone yesterday, I should have gone yesterday”. Meanwhile he utters those words his body is shaking.
It’s not so much my grandmother’s death that evokes feelings in me the most, because she’s been sick for a long time, but it’s the tears that come streaming down from my father’s face. My brilliant, wise, happy father, now grief-struck to his bones.
As on a queue all family members hands reach for dad. I look to my right only to see silent tears run down my sisters face and I know she feels what I feel. So I hug her, to comfort each other in our father’s pain.
We are all hit by the realization of that this is the end of an era. Grandpa will never tell us his stories again and grandma will never share her cooking with us. And so we sit in silence and remember what was and never will be again.