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    Saying Good-bye

    I think forever in my mind will be burned the image of my grandfather waving to our taxi from the dining room window. This could and probably is the last time I would see him in person. A few weeks ago he was diagnosed with cancer. Although its skin related, the growth is large, on his head, will require surgery, and quite frankly all of us are concerned that his body just won’t be able to handle the treatment.

    The significance of my time with my grandparents on this trip didn’t really hit me until S and I took our last ride away from their home. Much of this, to be honest with you, was caused by the fact that I said my Good-Bye to him several years ago. At that time he was diagnosed with a tumor and the doctors gave him only a few months to live. 4 years later he’s obviously beat their expectations, but I just haven’t allowed myself to get close to him again. I went through our visits with them staying calm and feeling mostly numb until those last few minutes.

    My grandfather really is one the most wonderful people anyone could ever know. He is honest to a fault, trusts a hand-shake agreement as much as a signed document, entirely selfless and would give the shirt off of his back to help a stranger out. Hugging his frail body on this last hug is such a contrast to the strong man I remember growing up.

    I didn’t take any pictures of him on this trip. To be honest, I didn’t want to. I just didn’t want to remember him the way I saw him over these last few days, and as S pointed out, he probably wouldn’t want to be remembered that way either. This is the way he liked to be thought of:

    and this is the image I’d much rather think of anyway.

    The part that makes this Good-Bye so terrible is that in a very selfish way I fear that I could not only be saying Good-Bye to him but my mother as well. With my grandfather gone, my grandmother cannot remain on her own, which implies that my mother, their only child, would need to be there for her. My grandmother, who doesn’t speak English, doesn’t hold a US citizenship can’t easily be moved to the US. She doesn’t exactly have the easiest personality to get along with (to put it mildly) and putting her in the apartment environment that my parents live in, with nothing to do, is simply asking for trouble. Having her live in our home with us, is no good solution either.

    There is just no good solution to what my family will do here! Although my grandmother isn’t in the best of health, she has years left in her and I think it’s unfair to loose my mother to a place so far away. Like I said, I’m being completely selfish. Although, I see my parents but a few times a year, knowing that they are a short flight away gives me comfort. A 14-18 hour travel plan to see her doesn’t! My mother and I are very close. She’s been more of a best friend to me than a mother. We talk at least every other day and there are so few things about me she doesn’t know I could probably count them on one hand.

    My father also depends on my mom more than he would admit. I worry about his heart health and what my mom’s absence will do for it.

    I really like knowing that I can resolve the obstacles I face in my life, and there just isn’t a good one here. I find the situation frustrating and saddening and I just don’t know how to fix it.

    2 responses to “Saying Good-bye”

    1. Kittylove says:

      Something I learned when my mom got sick is that not all obstacles are yours to find solutions to alone. You don’t know how much longer your grandpa has but it could still be years before he is gone and anything can happen in that time. Be sure to voice your opinions on what you think should be done to your parents I am sure they would want to know how you feel about everything. Ailing granparents and parents are just such a hard situation, my heart goes out to you.

    2. Jamers125 says:

      Gosh… I can relate to this. My grandparents aren’t halfway across the world, but I still have all 4 of them and I’m terrified of their failing health and increase in years. I know how lucky I am not to have lost a grandparent yet, but I know it’s imminent and that makes me sad. I’m glad that you got to visit, but I understand the lack of picture taking so you have a better image to remember. My cousins lost their grandfather two weeks ago – the first grandparent they’ve lost – one cousin mentioned to me that she didn’t even recognize him as he declined and she wants to remember him as he looked on her wedding day last June. THAT is the picture she’ll keep. In fact, it was very similar to the picture you posted of your grandfather… cane and all.

      So sorry that you’re dealing with this. My heart goes out to you and your family. Like kittylove said though, anything could happen. Maybe your grandparents have many more happy years to come before you have to worry about certain issues. Best wishes and safe travels…

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