"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

May You be at Peace

What really sucks is that last night I went to bed an hour later than I meant to because I was really excited about my story and learning who my main character is, only to wake up this morning with one of those phone calls you wish you'll never get, and now I'm trying to figure out how I can get back to the States on really short notice. As a result, it's kind of drained all my energy for writing.

My grandpa died. I don't know when exactly due to the time difference, but my father-in-law had been trying to get a hold of us for at least three hours before we finally woke up enough to answer the phone. Of course the first thing I said was, "Which one?" when I've only had one grandpa my entire life. (My other grandpa died before I was born.)

The second thing that happened to me was exactly like I was a character in some book (the main character too, since this is *my* life). After hearing that he got a brain hemorrhage (just like how my friend's mom died last summer, or the summer before) and went into a coma. And I think my family (I don't know who) basically decided to pull the plug. My mind tried telling me that they hadn't actually pulled the plug yet, that there was still time. Only to remember that the first thing my father-in-law said was that my grandpa died.

The first thing I thought was how it was unfair. Not to me, but to my grandpa. Some years ago when I was still in college (I think my second year), my grandma was in a terrible car accident. (And at the time, I tried to use my emotions in a poem for my creative writing class.) The accident had been so bad that no one thought she was going to make it, but eventually she managed to pull through. During that time, you could see how much my grandpa really loved my grandma because he waited by her bed with her, only leaving when the nurses forced him out, or when his children told him he needed to eat. Because to him, nothing else mattered than to by by her side. So I thought, after he went through all of this for my grandma, it was unfair of them (because I don't think my grandma would have made this decision on her own) to not even give him the fighting chance. And okay, so I know if you get a brain hemorrhage, the chances of survival are practically non-existent. But they could have at least given him the chance.

Part of me is more than just sad that I'll never be able to talk to my grandpa again, or to hear any of his stories about how difficult it is to butcher a buffalo (from a farm, not a wild one, and he had permission or whatever for those of you who may be worried) or even his travels in Asia, which I only recently learned about how much he actually did here when I got back from Korea (last summer). Just last week, I thought about asking him more about his travels and where he went in Japan so I can go there too, and experience some of the same things he experienced.

But really the most important thing, and the one that makes my life seem most like some character in a book right now is my "backstory" coming back to haunt me, more likely it's guiding my actions. The summer after I was in 9th grade, I went with my friend and her older sister on vacation to Georgia, Kentucky, and Ohio to visit their relatives. And while I was in Ohio, I got the call saying that my uncle had just died. I tried going back to Minnesota early, but "cost too much" to change my ticket or it was too difficult, and that I should just stay and enjoy myself when all I really wanted to do was be with my family. Now my family isn't close or anything, and I wasn't even close to my uncle, but my family just kind of flocks together when there's a tragedy, It's almost like there's this calling inside each of us and we just know when and where to go.

So I guess really because I didn't get to partake in this almost pilgrimage when my uncle died and I was only a couple states away, I'm a million times more determined to get back home now, even though I'm halfway around the world. Plus, I knew my grandpa a lot better than my uncle, he was closer related to me, and I just want to be there for my mom (because its her father).

I'm also reminded of something my sister said back when my grandma was in the hospital, and that's, "Because the two of them were so close and loved each other so much, that one wouldn't be able to live without the other. So if one dies, the other will soon follow." And its sad because you don't want either of them to die, but I think it's also very romantic (and the stuff fiction is made of). It goes with what my grandpa told my sister the first time she was engaged, that he "loves [my grandma] even more today than the day they met," and he will continue loving her more each day.

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