Let me begin this story with a bit of background; when the events transpired my family was extremely poor and my grandmother had suffered a stroke two years prior, she’s still alive but recovering slowly. Everything that happened in this took place about five years ago and even as it was happening it didn’t feel real.

I grew up raised by my single mother and grandmother, both of which I was extremely close to. When my grandmother suffered her stroke we lost tons of money with medical funds, something 11-year-old me wasn’t supposed to know about. But, that’s what made my thirteenth birthday that much more special. It was a Thursday afternoon when my family picked me up early from school, making a big show that it was my birthday and I was leaving early. Once we were in the car my mother turned to me and explained that we were heading down to Florida to catch a cruise to Mexico. I was excited beyond belief, my family was broke at the time and rarely had the money to leave town, let alone the country.

The trip had gone great, I was treated to a fancy dinner, shopping on the ship, and even a full tour around Cozumel. It was the best three days of my life until it wasn’t. The fourth day of the cruise I got sick, that wouldn’t be an issue if my grandmother didn’t have a disease that completely ruined her immune system. When I had woken up from sleeping about thirteen hours she was coming into our shared room with my mother, she was paler than usual but we all wrote it off as seasickness.

Around five in the morning, my mother woke me up, crying hysterically saying to back our bags and get ready to head down to the medical bay. My grandmother had caught my stomach bug, only given her disease it was much worse, for the second time in two years I had to stand by as my grandmother, the woman who helped raise me, was dying. And for the second time in two years, I could do nothing about it.

It was five thirty when someone, an attendee or a maid came to our room with a wheelchair. Everything went by so fast, and that’s when I know for a fact I starting blocking things from my memory. From this point on is what my mother has told me happened, I honestly don’t remember the rest of the trip until we got home.

We got down to the medical bay where I was sat down in the waiting room, my grandmother’s heart stopped for two minutes before they were able to bring her back, we were still on the ship. It wouldn’t be for another few hours that we’d be able to dock. Apparently, I fell asleep again because I woke up being carried to an ambulance by my mother. We got inside of the back and sat with the paramedics as they tried to keep my grandmother alive, it took an agonizing six minutes to get to the hospital, another thirty to get her into a room, and another seven days to finally leave Miami and get back home.

I know there’s a lot of information missing, but it’s because I’ve been told time and time again that what happened between the Cruise and when we stepped off that plane don’t matter. I want answers, but it’s been five years. I doubt I’ll ever really get the questions I have answered. Until then, I never want to go on a boat again.

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