The K-Mart in Tehachapi is closing in December. While it was an anticipated closing, due to Walmart opening in town this past August, it is a bittersweet reality my family has to face.
While I was growing up, my parents both worked so my grandma would take care of me in the mornings until one of their shifts ended. She would put some lipstick on my cheeks, grab my hand and we would spend hours at K-Mart.
She did not have a driver’s license and Spanish was her primary language which made it hard for her to go places without the help of my mom. K-Mart was in walking distance of her senior-living community making it her favorite place to go to, it was right across the street.
Since her husband passed away in 2002, she needed to find a way to pass her free time and that was when she discovered her love for the department store. She would roll her basket, that helped her brittle bones walk, and would go up and down the aisles. She quickly befriended the workers and they would soon become her second family.
My grandma died in August 2017, I haven’t had the heart to go back since. Sometimes I drive my car over to the empty parking-lot and try to get myself to walk in there, but I can’t. It’s been a wound that has yet to heal, a constant heartbreak that won’t ease.
Now that the department store has announced that is closing, it feels as if the last piece of my grandma that I have left is closing too. I know memories last a lifetime, but I wish grandmas did too.
Along with biological family, the K-Mart workers surrounded the church my grandma’s funeral was held at. They all wore their blue K-Mart shirts and wept as they felt the pain of losing her too.
It gives opportunity to open the spacious building for new businesses and growth in the community. So, as K-Mart closes the store’s doors, my family’s hearts will close too, and we will continue to grieve.