six small words

All day long I had envisioned stopping off at the CVS on the corner of Franklin and Lake Street to pick up a bottle of Rumchata. It was on the way to picking up Sophie and I was in dire need of a drink. And Rumchata was such a drink I could drink without any problems. None whatsoever. (Oh could I drink and drink that milky goodness.)

Just as I picked up the white bottle, my phone vibrated. I looked at the message from my mom: Hospice is saying any day now.

Instantaneously, I was suffocating inside that corner CVS store. I unzipped my jacket and looked at the message again. Six small fucking words that said so much. My heart started beating fast, the burn of vomit crept into my throat, tears fell from my eyes.

Take a deep breath, I told myself over and over again wiping away the tears.

I walked around the store cradling the bottle of Rumchata, trying to tell myself to remain calm, trying to remind myself I was inside a store and not in my car or home where I could react any way I wanted. I tried reminding myself that this wasn’t completely unexpected news. Clearly. Hospice had been visiting my grandmother for nearly a month at that point so I knew the news would come one day when I would learn there were days left.

I guess I just didn’t think I’d be inside a fucking CVS store buying Rumchata to drown my sorrows in whilst my four year old watched Dora that night.

Once I gathered enough strength and hid enough tears, I went to the counter by the door and purchased the Rumchata. I wasn’t carded, of course, because my hair had become quite silver the past several months.

I walked out of that corner CVS store and so badly wanted to open that bottle right then and there and take a swig.

Or ten.

But I had my sweet Sophie yet to pick up from daycare right down the street.


“Is everything okay,” Miss Carrie, the director at Sophie’s daycare asked when she saw me. I quickly averted my eyes to the log-in sheet and just nodded my head.

Sophie yammered on the whole ride home, but I’m not sure what she said. All I could think of was the impending holidays. Thanksgiving to be exact. It was Grams favorite holiday and I just couldn’t imagine it without her. It was the one time every year when everyone would gather together to feast, fight, and fart around. We laughed and cried on Thanksgiving. Voices and eyebrows were raised quite often. But we were all there, in one place, together as a family.

That was all going to change and realizing that made me nearly have to pull the car to the side of the road.

Gram was dying and so was our family.


Gram always remained a constant in my heart and thoughts, but I couldn’t have ever imagined a corner store having such a hold on me… but it did. Because from that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.

16 thoughts on “six small words

  1. This made me sad. I called my Grandma Gram too, and I really miss her.


    P.S. I had never heard of rumchata before, so I clicked on the link. The rumchata french toast sounds pretty amazing.

  2. This is so beautiful and intense Christina! I like how the news turned something ordinary into a permanent memory. And I love the way you showed her distress—and her attempts to control her reaction—when she received the news. Well done! 🙂

  3. I felt like I was on a roller coaster! I was rejoicing with the character about the Rumchata, a newfound love of mine, and then wham, Hospice. As someone who works for Hospice, I definitely felt this story. Really well done. I liked how you wove in the last line.

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