The night before my 27th birthday, my husband and son took me out to dinner here in Greenville. It was nothing fancy; each year my wish is pretty much the same-- I want to have a full belly of comfort food without having to cook it myself.
We indulged in a few appetizers, my entree of a ginger-crusted salmon with a side of wasabi mashed potatoes (thank you, Yard House...this is my go-to order now), and had just received my complimentary birthday dessert when I got the call.
It was my grandmother. I quickly answered as I figured she was calling to wish me an early birthday. Instead, I learned that my godmother had suffered a fatal heart attack.
She repeated herself then encouraged me to call my godbrother who was apparently with her during the time of her passing.
I was stunned myself. I didn’t know what to say. But I called him anyway. And I just couldn’t believe how he even had the capacity to answer the phone to confirm what had happened.
The rest of the weekend and the days following I tried to process what happened. I still ride around in my car asking questioning whether she’s really gone. I didn’t understand it then and today is not much different.
Because I didn’t have the words to vocalize or even journal to share how I was feeling, I decided to take some self portraits. A year later, I can still look back and remember that initial feeling of both disbelief and surrealism. And I realize that although I may never understand why my godmother left us so suddenly, I do have a photographs I took of her even those smartphone selfies we took together that help me remember her smile, her side eyes, and her voice.
Monica A. Young