Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Loss happens in everyone's life. It is an inevitable part of life and no one is exempt from it. My paternal grandma passed away my first year of teaching. It was hard because even though I was out to see her that Christmas I felt guilty that I was so far away. My paternal grandpa died when I was one, but I have been very close to my other three grandparents. Family has always been more important to me than friends because they have always been there for me and they love me no matter what. My grandparents have never done anything to hurt me. I have never fought with my grandparents. I love my parents and brother and they are also just as important, but I will say that we have fought about things, but we did live together 24/7 for years. I was around my grandparents though a fair amount, so I had plenty of opportunity to fight with them, but I never did. When I went to college I was only a thirty minute drive from my paternal grandma and some weeks I would see her four or five times in that week. Except for two summers I had never lived more than two hours from her and I saw her as much as I wanted, which was often. Anyway, I saw her Christmas 2006 and she was happy to see that I had finally become a teacher. She was hoping to see me get married and have children, but I told her I wasn't ready for that yet. She missed my grandpa a great deal. I told her that it was ok to go and be with him. Her last sibling passed away in February. She did good until May and then it was a quick end. Just over the course of one week. She died on my best friend's birthday, May 5th. I also had to chaperone prom, so it is not something I will forget. I had a feeling when I woke up that morning that my Dad would call me with the news, and just an hour later that is what happened. Even though I was a two day drive away, luckily I was able to get a flight and be back for the whole week. That was very important to me to be there with my family and for my Dad.

Fast forward to 2013. February 10th (Indonesian time) I was with some friends on a quick Chinese New Year trip to Yogjakarta when I got the news that my grandpa hadn't felt well and went to the hospital. He had a heart attack but they were slow in diagnosing it, so by the time they did there was way too much damage. Over the next couple of weeks they found that surgery was not possible and medicine didn't help. I was able to talk to him a few times on the phone. Now that I am in Indonesia it is way too far to go back and too expensive. I looked at flights and it was $7,000 for 36 hours there and 36 hours back with the ability to take five days off. Tuesday March 5th (Indonesian time) I woke up with the feeling that once again I would be receiving the news that the end had come. When I was at school I got an e-mail that I had mail. One being a letter from my grandparents. I love letters and I look forward to them. It was a Valentine's Day card from my grandparents. The last one from the two of them. In it they said they were so excited to see me this coming summer and hear all about my adventures. I had promised to come for a visit last summer but when I took my new job there was only two weeks in between the two jobs and definitely not enough time to go for a visit and move to a new country. So, I had to change my promise to visiting them this coming summer (so it has been 3 years since I last saw them). A few hours after that my grandpa was gone. I know they are proud of me and supported me in my dream of being a teacher and teaching overseas for a few years. It has been hard since then. I know it is hard for everyone when they lose a love one. I do struggle with being away from my family right now and missing out on the funeral and internment. Of being there for my Mom and being surrounded by love. Luckily there is Facebook and so my family created a closed group where they have shared pictures with me of the two services. I am not much of a hugger but would love a hug from my parents. One of the teachers in the primary part of my school did organize a bouquet of flowers, including purple roses (my favorite and she didn't know that). That means a lot to me. I am not sure if it is a cultural thing or just the people that I am around, but here there is very little sharing of personal lives. If the one friend hadn't been with me on the trip when I first got the news about my grandpa and wondered why I looked so sad (the day he died) and asked and then passed it on to others, no one would have known. Very few people know.

I know that life goes on. Just looking at the bouquet of flowers I was given I can see that. While most of the flowers are withering and dying two flowers are just blooming. I am sure the day my grandpa died that others were born into this world. I know the pain will lessen as time goes on. I also think about the fact that one day I will be in my Mom's shoes and she and my Dad will be the ones to pass away, but I hope that is not for years to come. It seems more real the older I get. I will say that I was lucky that I have been so close to my three grandparents and they have all lived to ripe old ages. They have all seen me grow to be an adult. I have lots and lots of memories of them. There is that saying most people know that "it is better to have love and lost than to have never loved at all". I remember at one point when I was younger I disagreed with that statement, but now I realize that it is true because it would make a very lonely life indeed if I never loved anyone.

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