Friday, December 30, 2011

Coming Close to Death


Merry Christmas.

I drove 3 folks up to San Jose from Los Angeles last week in my grown up car.  I spent 6 days in the bay area.  The mood was off since my 85 year old grandma is on her last couple of days. She has been diagnosed with stomach cancer and can't eat a thing.

The reality of death has made things less painful for my dad and his 6 remaining brothers and sisters who have been running around trying to figure things out.  "No games this year Christopher."


So after dinner we had a round table discussion regarding what to do.  Luckily one of the cousins was a doctor and filled them in.  The decision has been made:  if my grandma's heart stopped beating then the doctors and nurses have been ordered NOT to perform CPR and let my grandma's soul escape from her withering body to be reunited with her husband and late daughter who passed away from breast cancer.

I was going to post a picture of her here, but it was pretty evident that death was very close for her.  But I'm glad I visited her in the hospital.

"Pho, huh?"
"Yah... I drove up from LA."
"giỏi"  which means "you're a good grandson that did the right thing by visiting me"

My dad encouraged me to say more, but words escaped me.  My brother had even less to say since he never cared to try to learn Vietnamese.


I think everyone realized that Christmas shouldn't be completely depressing so we started to pass around gifts as usual.


Gifts were cool this year.  It was all about the kids and as I'm reaching my later 20's I no longer fit in the category.  There were so many kids this year since my cousin, the doctor... specifically the child delivering doctor, brought his 3 kids.  It's funny, he had two love interests in life and both of them already have kids...  I guess that's what happens when he finds love at his office... bum dum CHIsh!

But I do love how thoughtful my family is:

Cookbook - because I'm trying to cook
Shower Curtains - because when they visited me, what I had was disgusting
Money - which I used immediately that night at a cash only bar
Speakers - for the bathroom

I love my family for really trying and I feel bad that I didn't put as much effort this year.  Maybe I should do something for Vietnamese New Year since we probably won't celebrate with the anticipated passing of my grandma.



Here is the annual Bush of Noel.  Mmm.  needs trimming.

Other family news:
My dad has been looking for a military jacket for his New Years Eve performance.  He found something from Crossroads and is asking Mom to add more buttons.  He's gonna rock out.

My grandpa on my mom's side last month was caught on a surveillance camera stealing plants from people's front yards.  He responded in Vietnamese, "I'm old.. what are they going to do?"  The police followed him to his apartment and chatted with building manager.  Hopefully he understands that front yards aren't public property.

Aging is such a scary thought.  My grandpa is the same age as my grandma, but they booth seem to be deteriorating differently.  My grandma's body is shutting down while my grandpa's mind is drifting off.  I guess at this point in our lives we need to make sure that we have completely our life to-do lists so that when it's our time to go there are no regrets.  What a scary thought.

==

On my to-do list for the break was to organize my boxes of belongings that have been stacked in the garage.  Impossible - too many things I want to keep.  But I did discover how organized I am:


A spot for every slip of paper.  Does this make me a horder?

Stacks of school work. Papers and papers.  Also, my taste in music is evident at a young age when I found a list of songs that I liked from the Now! That's What I Call Music albums.



Am I a type A personality?  Cleaning the house fridge, balancing the bills board, ordering people around, making lists...., yet I'm not that detailed oriented, very forgetful and often procrastinate.  Gemini?

It was nice to be home - leaving dishes somewhere and miraculously they are washed.  Leaving my dirty clothes in the garage and bam they smell like lavender and are folded in a basket.  Not paying for meals.  I can see how folks can really get comfortable at home... but it was time to go.  I'll be returning soon though, my company allows some time off for bereavement.

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