I’m writing this story because of some recent events that happened involving my Grandma. She had a minor incident that caused her to be admitted to the hospital. She is okay but the incident gave me a reminder dose of the realities of life and death. I haven’t lost any close family members in my life yet but I know that will change as time passes. While she is in generally great health, at some point, she will pass on. We went to visit her at VGH the other day. It was my first time in VGH since… well I don’t even know when. The last hospital I was in was St Paul’s Hospital to get a MRI on my wrist (but that was not a big deal). I’ve only had to go to ER once in my lifetime (that was necessary) and I haven’t been to a hospital in some time.
When we got to the room, we found my dad’s sister with my grandma. It was so out-of-place to see my grandma in bed. She is always up and about when we visit her and she has always been so active in her life. She is turning 104 this year (that’s right, 104), but she is a complete beast. She doesn’t even use a walker when she walks and can still climb stairs. Her energy was way up compared to earlier in the day (according to my dad’s sister). She was really excited to see us. She didn’t have her teeth in so we couldn’t really understand what she was saying. We just kept nodding along and agreeing. And so for an hour she kept talking and talking and we kept nodding and nodding. Despite the circumstances not being serious, I found it emotional to be there. It gave me some time to reflect on my relationship with my grandma and the years I have known her.
After we left, she immediately went to sleep (tired from all the talking no doubt). We left the hospital and my dad stayed behind because she needed someone to watch over her overnight.
Flashback to when I was a kid. I was a little rascal “always causing trouble” according to my grandma. I loved to play on the streets, and thus on many summer nights I would be outside doing something. Other times it would be my cousin coming over “to play” (oh to be kids and have our playtime). My grandma thought I played too much (which is silly cause that’s what kids do!). I thought my grandma was a bit crazy back then. She always liked to move our stuff around (and I would lose things) and she was usually grumbling over something. She would make these crazy Chinese soups that smelled so potent I swear it could strip the paint off a wall. This was when my grandma used to live with our family.
After living with us for a long time, she eventually moved in with my dad’s sister for a while. She stayed there for a few years and my mom would visit every week or so. I don’t get to visit my grandma frequently… only every few months at best (which I really need to change). You will notice I said my mom was visiting her. During this time, my dad and my grandma weren’t getting along very well. Well actually, it was my dad being stubborn and not getting along with my grandma. He didn’t want to visit or talk to her during that time. As my grandma was getting up there in years, she would frequently ask where my dad was since she missed him. It was a sad time in their relationship. My dad did eventually came around and visit her. He slowly warmed up to her again and everything was well again.
It’s been a few years and my grandma has since moved into a retirement home. I used to think my grandma was crazy but as a grownup I can say I love my grandma and appreciate her in my life. She is always
excited very excited to see me even when I usually don’t have much to say.
While my grandma has lived over an entire century, the story of my grandma isn’t over. She still has a zest for life even after 104 years of living. That’s a lesson I think I can definitely learn from.