Hey guys! So I have been commissioned by the Netflix series - 13 Reasons Why to write a sample entry for their contest on what you would do if you could do a moment in your life over again. This is the first very personal thing I have ever shared with you so I hope you enjoy and also enter this amazing contest which you can find on the TeenFiction profile. Only those in the U.S and Australia will qualify for the prize but there's no harm in giving the prompt a go anyway!
The Day Before
I always knew there was something wrong with my Great Aunt. Over time she became weaker, got up less, visited rarely and when she moved to be closer to her immediate family; I knew that she was slowly getting worse.
Being a seven-hour flight and an entire ocean away, left me to only get updates through what people mentioned in passing. "She's doing better", "It's hurting less now", "it's not so bad anymore." But then those comments changed. My family began to say it was getting worse, and not slowly, but drastically.
I found out it was cancer when she moved into a care home. I thought she was just sick with something that could be shaken off overtime. But this wasn't going to fade away. We all knew how this would end.
I just wasn't prepared for when it did.
Most of that summer was put aside to hop on a flight and go visit my family. I spent weeks up by the lakes and fields, spending each day doing something different or nothing at all. Now and then, my grandparents would leave for a bit and take the three-hour drive to see my Great Aunt. I didn't. Maybe it was because no one offered or maybe it was because I wasn't sure I could do it. My granddad said that she slept a lot and sometimes she wasn't even awake when he saw her. She was weak, very weak. And we all knew that it was coming up to the time none of us really wanted to face.
Because no one wanted to say goodbye when they knew they'd never say hello again.
There was one day during the vacation where I had the perfect chance to see my Great Aunt. There were no plans made and there was nothing to do. A full twenty-four hours where I could have easily told someone I wanted to see her. Just three-hours.
But I didn't say anything. I kept quiet the whole day, thinking maybe next time. I'll go when everyone else does or maybe I won't go at all. So, I stayed in the house and let the opportunity fly past me.
She died the next day.
For weeks, I thought 'what if'. What if I had just asked to see her? I didn't care if she was sleeping or if she didn't speak to me. I just wanted to see the face I hadn't seen in years.
It took over a month for me to stop thinking about what could have happened. Because if I did go and see her that day, then I would only remember my Great Aunt as she was there, lying in a bed, barely coherent. I want to remember when she could pick up her grandson and when she could live on her own. I want to only ever see her vibrant and full of life. A memory that makes me nostalgic, not sad.
The way she wanted to be remembered.
- Tahlie x