November 5, 2010

Friday Five, In Memoriam

Well, I probably won't have enough bullet-points for a Friday Five today. More like a Friday Three. But here goes. 

1.) A very close member of Justin's family passed away yesterday. It wasn't entirely unexpected, but it happened so quickly that it shocked us both. We'll be flying out on Monday to attend the funeral. Suffice to say, there's kind of a gray cloud hanging over us today. While we're grateful that everything happened quickly and with little pain, it's still hard to lose someone you love. 

2.) I used to think that I could prepare myself for certain kinds of death. (Oh, the naivete!) Specifically, I thought I could ready myself for my grandmother's death. You see, my grandma---or Popo as we called her in Chinese---had Alzheimer's for many years and had lost the ability to walk or feed herself. After visiting her in the nursing home for two years, I really believed that I would only feel peace when she died. There would be no more suffering. No more pain. And no more nursing home food, which I'm sure my grandma hated. 

Yet, when my grandma finally passed away last fall, I felt like someone had punched me in the throat. I started crying at traffic stops and at trips to the grocery store. She was really gone, and I didn't know how to process that.

So here's one thing I've learned about death: you can't fight the grief. It will inevitably come, even if your loved one has led a long life and even though they were sick for a very long time. It still hurts like hell but it's better not to fight the pain. Let it roll through you. Let everything sink in. Grief is the price we pay for the greatest kind of love.

3.) Next weekend, I need to make it a point to visit my surviving grandmother, my Nai Nai. She always gives me a big hug whenever she sees me and she never lets me help her with dinner, even though it's getting hard for her to move around. She makes the yummiest Chinese food, especially these meatballs cooked with cabbage that I scarf down in five seconds flat. 

I need to visit my Nai Nai and spend some time with her. I need to tell her how much she means to me...


  1. I loved how you put it--grief is the price we pay for the greatest kind of love. Too true. I hope you and Justin get to feel some peace and closure after awhile. Love you!

  2. Thanks Lisa! Admittedly, I can't take credit for that little quote. A rabbi who writes for Newsweek said something along those lines a few years ago and it has always stuck with me. Ironically, he was actually talking about grieving over his dog! By the way, what are you working on for NaNo?

  3. So sorry for both your losses. Grandmas leaving a big space in your heart when they go. I lost mine two years ago this week and I still really, really miss her. Hope you enjoy your time with your Nai Nai next week. She sounds awesome!

  4. Sending you an e-hug, and so sorry to hear about your/Jason's loss.

  5. So sorry again Caroline. And you're right, you can't fight grief and it's better not to try. I hope you and Justin and his family can take comfort in lots of happy memories next week.

    Enjoy your time with you Nai Nai

  6. Grief was the hardest part of my job. At first I thought working with the elderly would be glamorous. I'd sit around all day and play cards and listen to their stories. Not so. I lost some of the greatest friends and people that taught me many lessons in life. I'm sorry for your loss Caroline and Justin. Have a good trip and yes go see your grandmother. I made Rob go see his remaining Grandmother when we were in Utah last. It was a special experience.

  7. Sorry to hear about your popo.

    My grandparents all passed away a few years ago and it's never easy losing family.

  8. Jess, Alexa, Lynn, and Ian - thank you so much for your condolences! It means a helluva a lot to me and my husband.

    Adrienne, thanks so much for sharing your experiences! I never thought about it, but you really must have grieved over some wonderful people during your job. I look up to you for have made their lives easier and happier.

  9. Sorry to hear about your family's loss, C.

    My granddad just passed away last weekend, and we just got back from the funeral. It's tough, but good to be close with family. Love you!