The Story of my Grandmother
Regardless of all I have to complain about (stupid right?)… The one thing, the only thing, that warrants something other than a stupid tumblr post right now would be my grandmother. To live as an aging person is one thing, to exist as a bedridden person, unable to speak to your loved ones, unable to eat of your own accord, and unable to function as humans are meant to is entirely different. There is a truth that I will never say to my family or for that matter anyone who ever knew my grandmother. This truth is that as much as she cared for me, I never knew her as that person. In fact, I have no memory of her before her lifelong affliction. All my life, my bond with her has been based off of descriptions from my parents of times past. Although I am still new to this concept of life and death I guess I assumed it would be somewhat similar to my grandfather’s passing. Maybe I should have realized that nothing is ever the same as it was before. Last weekend, as I was visiting my fading grandmother I created the only experience I have and ever will have of her. As I was seeing her for the first time since her admittance into the care center she was in, I took her hand. I was always too little and too immature to understand the importance of being there for my grandmother. Of providing some moment of joy in her life that was nothing but hell for the last 11 years. However, this time was different. Maybe I understood the importance of it then, probably not, but one can only wish. As I took her hand I also looked into her eyes. My mother’s hand enclosed mine for a moment until she let go but continued to speak to my grandmother as only someone raised in Korean culture could. Her voice rang of nothing but pure respect, compassion, and love. And as a choking lump was brought to my throat from my mother’s speaking, a tear was brought to my grandmother’s eyes. And looking back at this tear of her’s I realize that we both knew. We both just knew. This was a tear reserved for me. My grandmother had been cut off from life support and yet she still had the strength left for one tear. The tear for the grand child who she cared for, the oldest son of the family, and forever one of her pinnacles of joy. And as I write this it brings both the choking lump of grim sadness and the mental picture of my grandmother to my head. The tear in her left eye, the spirit of her, the real her, behind those bright eyes. This was and will forever be the only moment of real, understandable, and human connection between us. Later in the day as I left, I took her hand once more, I looked at her and I knew that this was the last time. “Goodbye grandma.” I know that I will never share the bond that she had with my father. As I came home today I saw the quiet sadness in his eyes as his only remaining parent left this material world. And after leaving that care center, I realized that my mother represented this last remaining shred of Asian and Korean culture to me. The utter respect and passion that most Asian Americans have lost in this country. Although it can be repeated to value your time with your loved ones, it is impossible without experiencing the moments gone unvalued. If a last sentence were to be made to my grandmother it would contain my feelings of stupidity for not being around as much as a good grandson should have. Rest In Peace Grandma.
Thanks for sharing this experience with me if you read this whole thing, sorry to burden you with it but I just had to get it out somewhere.