Friday, August 19, 2016

Grandparents, forever

I spent time with my grandparents yesterday. Just eating meals and sitting in our backyard (which is a really awesome backyard.)

My grandparents keep talking about the past and a lot of it is gossip, like about who owed them money from 20 years ago. A lot of it is also stories about me that I've heard time and time again. I keep wanting to tell them to stop gossipping about the past, that it's not emotionally healthy, and to look towards the future and have hope in it. But I realize that might not work for old people. What keeps me going is hope in the future, but I don't know how old people can have this...This aritcle explains about how young people look forward to change, while old people look for reminders of the past:

Another frustration is departing. My grandpa is starting to say again "after this upcoming vacation together and you move, who knows when I can see you again". He is hinting at death, and it hurts, and there is nothing I can do about it, except spend as much time with him as possible. 

There are moments when he pesters me so much about eating food or clothes to wear that I think to myself, "I can't wait to get away". But there are many more moments when I am sitting with my grandparents, and they are laughing and smiling, or I am just watching them go about their day and I can't help notice their frailness, and I can't help but think how much I'll miss them when they're not around.

Yesterday afternoon, my grandparents went back in after sitting in the backyard together. I remained outside to jump rope a bit before joining them for dinner. As I was jump roping in the southern california sunset, I was thinking about all this and I imagined what it would be like when they're not around. And how painful that would be. And why is life so finite, and death so distinct, and irreversible, and impassable. It's so frustrating.

It makes me wonder if I should just continue to be around them as much as possible whenever I'm not working, and maybe not even move away. But that won't make me most happy, and that's not what they'd really want. Since I'm currently not working, I get to be around them quite a bit, but even despite how sweet these moments are, it's not sustainable. I don't get as much work done, and I'm not as focused because they'll call me downstairs to eat or to talk. They keep mentioning how much they'll miss me when I move away, but if I stay, that's not reality, and that's not how children grow up. Children leave parents. That's life. Staying would hinder my growth, and that's ultimately not what they'd want.

I sometimes fear that every moment I spend with my grandparents will be the last of its kind. I want to stay around my grandparents whenever they talk about how much they're going to miss me. But I wouldn't be living to my fullest if I stayed around. It's what's gotta be done.

Emily Dickinson describes it well:
My life closed twice before its close— 
It yet remains to see 
If Immortality unveil 
A third event to me 

So huge, so hopeless to conceive 
As these that twice befell. 
Parting is all we know of heaven, 
And all we need of hell.

(On a side note, It also occurred to me that if I was a Christian, I can try to prevent this so that I can see my grandparents again in the future. That is, if i was a Christian and I evangelize to my grandparents and get them to also become Christians. But that doesn't appeal to me. Because that would mean I would have to sit there and tell them that they've sinned and they're actually "evil" and "sinners", and that they need to repent and seek Jesus. They are in their own minds good people. In the minds of most humans, they are also good people. I think my grandparents are quite proud, and that can be seen through their boasting about how frugal they are, and how difficult their past was, and how they're always grabbing for the crappiest remaining dish/food/vegetable on the table and mentioning it. Those behaviors of theirs do indeed annoy me.

Pride is a very toxic substance, I struggled with pride before when I used to call myself Christian, and I still struggle with it and face its toxic consequences even now, as a non-Christian. I remember Christian sermons that mentioned how there is a pervading pride and wickedness in man (and there is surely in myself too). But those sort of sermons now piss me off. God created us and allowed us to be "sinners", and I don't want to convince my grandparents that it is somehow their fault and that they need to repent. It's not their fault.)

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