Empathy

Tonight we dragged the 7 year old out to pau hana at Restaurant Epic. It is not such a fun time for him but he was a trooper for the entire evening. A couple of hours in, I let him use the iphone to amuse himself. I get it, adults sitting around drinking and talking, not so much fun for him. We came home and he got in the bath. For some reason, once he got into bed the conversation turned to my grandmother. I totally loved my grandmother. Apparently she was an alcoholic but I have zero firsthand childhood memories of her ever being drunk or out of hand or anything. It seems that even if I had no realization of this, it was true. I think that my mom harbors deep seeded anger over some of my grandmother’s behavior due to this. I actually got together with my Aunt when I was in NY to try to figure out if my Mom was over exaggerating or not. According to my Aunt, she was not. My grandmother may have actually had some awful moments that my mother was documenting accurately. I think that I was hoping that it was not true; that my Mom was just blowing it out of proportion.

Tonight I was telling my son that my grandmother had decided that she would fly me home for Christmas from Thailand during the second year that I was there. She thought that the time I was going to spend away from home was too long so she promised to fund my trip home. I told my son that I was the first grandchild born and that my grandmother always addressed everything to me as “number one granddaughter.” It was just me & my sister and my two female cousins, no boys. I was no. 1 granddaughter. It was just the way it was. I told my son that my grandmother got sick right before I was to come home on her dime. That she ended up having an operation. That she ended up never waking up again but that my family decided that they would not tell me any of this. That they did not want to worry me.  I told him that they picked me up at the airport. They brought me a coat because I had no warm clothes. I remember my Aunt was there and my Mom and I don’t know who else. I told him that I remembered that they brought me a bagel because when you are from NY, it is one of the things that you miss the most. I told him that I remembered sitting in the back seat of the car holding my bagel when they told me that my grandmother had died. That instead of coming home to celebrate Christmas with her, that I would instead be attending her funeral.  I told him that I remembered just holding my bagel in the car. He asked me if I cried; if I was sad. I told him yes. When I looked at him, his eyes were full of tears and one was rolling down his face. He asked me what would happen if my Mom died. I told him that that was something that I really couldn’t think about. I told him that everyone dies and that you couldn’t spend your entire life worrying about that. I told him that I loved my grandmother like crazy and that his grandmother was very much like her. I told him that that was one of the reasons we had spent 6 months in NY and that his grandmother was really, really happy we had done that and that I hoped that he was happy about the time he spent there too. By that time, he was asleep but all I can think about is holding that bagel and having the happiest time turn into the saddest. Really, it just makes me know that the NY decision, as tough was it was, was absolutely the right thing to do. No regrets, at all.

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About nematomorph

Living like the rich and famous, splitting time between Hawaii and New York.
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3 Responses to Empathy

  1. Enkhee says:

    The summer my father died of liver cancer was the summer I spent in UK working on a strawberry farm hoping to make enough money to pay for my tuition. I was going to be a senior, and was hoping to get into a grad school in Hawaii or Budapest. I ended up going to Budapest and then Hawaii. Anyway, I left Mongolia in May that year. He was fine in May. I needed some cash for food and other small expenses during the first few days in England, and the last time I talked to my father was on the phone asking for money and he had none. It was the 90’s, right after the collapse of communism. Everyone was struggling. I was angry at him for not helping me out the way the other fathers did. I actually hang up on him. I did not know this was going to be the last conversation I would ever have with my father. He died in July. Hoped to hang in there until I come back home. They decided not to tell me that he was sick because if I did not work that summer there was no way I could continue school in the fall. Then they decided not to tell me he had died because they wanted to protect me I guess. I sent home some money in July to pay back the money I had borrowed from a friend’s mother to buy my ticket. I did not know I paid for my father’s funeral. I went to a public library a few days before I was due to leave for Mongolia to return books and check my email using their free Internet. Then found an email from my high school friends, telling me that my father had died and that they did not want me to find out upon my arrival. I just sat there in the library alone and cried and cried. There was suddenly this huge void in me. I felt like I could not gamble, take risks, be brave, do things even when odds were against me like I used to because I felt like I did not have a place to fall back on. I hated being poor. I vowed to never let money dictate the crucial moments of my life.

  2. Enkhee says:

    That is why I decided to have Onoroo last year of PUBA, although I had no money, no job, no home. And it was the best decision I ever made. You helped me out so much, Kim. I am so grateful for everything you did. I still have Aukai’s old bouncer and swing, which Indranila is using now 🙂 When I had my son, the void I felt, I did not feel as much. Then life only got better for all of us since then.

    • nematomorph says:

      Enkhee, your story is so sad. my heart broke when I read it. That being said, I applaud your bravery and confidence, not only in your life but in your work. I hope that the next time you come to HI we can hook up. Alternately, someday, I would love to visit you! take care and if there is anything that I can send you from here that you need/want/crave…just let me know.

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