The Last Dinner: A Reflection

One year ago on Sunday, March 1, 2020, my mother and father, Clare, Pappou, Sean, and I had dinner together.  We went to this Mexican place we like in our town.  I remember a friend calling Sean and me to hang out as we were walking over – I’m glad we opted for the family dinner instead.

One year ago, it felt so good to be over the winter hurdle; I remember my mom saying something about how getting to March is always a relief (she said something similar this year too, hah).  

One year ago, the U.S. was bracing itself for the impending doom and destruction of COVID-19 to fully break-out here. For a few months now we had been watching it devastate other countries and slowly (at first; later rapidly) watching the number of cases here increase. We discussed COVID a lot at that dinner. I talked about how I was going to start working remotely.  A week after I did, I was laid off due to the pandemic.

One year ago, I did not expect it to be the last dinner my family would ever have with Pappou and/or Sean.  I remember being a little nervous going into it, wondering if it would be the last time I saw Pappou, at least for a good while?  It ended up being the last time I ever saw him.  While growing up, there was rarely a day I did not see my Pappou; now I will never see him again for at least while I am alive on Earth. I don’t know what comes next. Sitting here today I wear his sweater.

One year ago, I would have no idea that the love of my life only had less than three and a half months left to live; he was to die a week before his 31st birthday.  This was not directly due to the pandemic, though it was indirectly. It fits in with the theme of 2020. I remember holding his hand as we walked over to the dinner and goofing around on Pokémon Go (yes, we still played it) by the fountain that did not get turned on this past year and probably won’t again this year. Sean and I always loved playing in that fountain even though we probably always looked ridiculous.  I don’t know if I’ll ever walk through that fountain again.

One year ago, I did not know how much my life would be changed, further than the previously unimaginable changes I was getting ready to expect due to the outbreak. I knew COVID was going to make things weird, I just naïvely wasn’t expecting to be a part of the statistics of people who lost loved ones with the passing of my Pappou (“it won’t happen to me”). I definitely did not foresee the death of Sean, though I had an ominous feeling the night before – I should have listened to it.  I miss them both dearly.  My eyes are misty from missing them as I type this.

Today, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, I would give anything to go back to one year ago.