"Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy."
- Eskimo Proverb
My grandfather passed away on last Wednesday.
And the first thing I said to my brother as he told me the news is "... he taught us how to ride a bike, remember that?"
That was the first thing that popped in my head, a clear memory of him, pushing our bikes on Ashford Street and telling me he's gonna let go and I yelled with pure adrenaline and excitement "Let go grandpa!!!" He clapped his hands as I flew down the street on two wheels. Then I stopped to see him helping my brother, and he is yelling "Don't let me go, grandpa!" with this look of fear in his eyes. He shakes his head at him...
I was always the fearless one... I think that's what he loved about me the most.
Then we turn into these self loathing teenagers... who did not want anything from "old people".. All that mattered was our friends, social life, and going out in our cars, new clothes, and boyfriends/girlfriends. We spent countless days a part but living in the same house.
But it wasn't till my first son came along when I was 17 that I saw that same twinkle in my grandfather's eyes. He loved watching him crawl, walk, or talk... He picked him effortlessly and placed him on his knee while he sat outside and fed the birds. By this time, my adolocsent days were over, even though I was just a kid myself. And I was no longer absorbed in petty things, but realized I needed my family.
Then I left them. I left Hawaii to raise my own family. I said good-bye many times in between the years with each visit and kept in touch with a Christmas card here and there. Years passed and my grandparents get old, my parents get older. I've buried my grandmother, my father, and now my grandfather..
Proof.. that time keeps moving forward no matter how much you want it to slow down.
I'm so glad I flew back home in January to see him one last time. My only regret is not telling him how I remembered about the bike lessons but I'm sure he knows. He lived a long & happy life, he was 95 when he passed. Even up till his final days (when I went to visit him) he refused to let old age get the best of him. He tried so hard to walk without the canes and not use the wheelchair. Stubborn is what my mom used to say. But I called it a strong will.
I will be flying back home once again in a few days not only for my grandfather's funeral but for my mother as well. She has made a turn for the worst... and I will be at her bedside for a month. My family will be meeting me there in a few weeks and head home without me. I'm not sure what's going to happen, but all I know is that I need to be with my mother right now. Please keep us in your prayers, as this is probably one of the hardest things I have had to go through (along with losing my father several years ago). I am still constantly trying to find the strength to keep it all together. Many thanks to my wonderful supportive family and my friends who have given me that shoulder to cry one, more times than I can count... You guys are amazing and I am blessed!
When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.