[2022/09/14] goodbye, grandma

grandma passed away today. She’s been with us for more than 80 years. I didn’t grow up with her, but I lived close to her when I was older and was lucky to hear about bits of her life through my mom’s stories.

When my grandma was younger, she worked as an electrician, fixing cables and landlines. At her house, she runs a phone business from the window, where people would come in, pay a few bucks and use the phone. She then got married to my grandpa and had 3 kids: my mom, my aunt, and my uncle. During their childhood, grandpa had to work in Hue, so he was rarely home and grandma singlehandedly took care of her kids as well as everything in the house. My mom said she was a strict woman, especially to the daughters, and was a little more lenient to her son. Sometimes mom and aunt would have to do extra chores just because my uncle was the youngest. Still, I know she loved and sacrificed a lot for the happiness of her kids and that’s why our whole family never ceased gave up on taking care of her until her last breathe.

For a long time, she had been going through multiple disorders and diseases – heart failures, kidney issues, lungs problems… you name it all. She got weaker as days went by and her soul was pretty much half here and half somewhere else. I remember that one time when my grandpa rushed her to the hospital because she accidentally drank some dish soap. She was okay afterwards, but we all knew that she was not so sure what and why she was doing that at the time. Her mind was not there.

Then a few months ago, when grandma was still able to walk with assistance, she suffered from a bad bladder. She would want to use the bathroom every 10 minutes and couldn’t sleep at night. My mom, my aunt, and my uncle tried their best to keep up with her pace, but they were always so exhausted by the end of their shift. To a point that they had to hire some helpers to assist them in taking care of grandma. If they, healthy adults get tired, then how can my grandma not? Then, as if it couldn’t get worse, my grandma got hospitalized in the emergency unit. That’s also when we found out that we wouldn’t have the chance to visit her as often anymore. Any communication from then on would be from the doctors and the nurses. Items like hampers and powdered milk were constantly supplied to ensure that my grandma could be alive, stay with us, and hopefully get better. This basically felt like running errands on demand 24/7 and as you could imagine, everyone was constantly in need of sleep time. I sometimes wondered why we have to suffer so much, why was grandma not waking up, and if there were ways to make things easier for our family. I cried every time I dropped my mom off at the hospital gate. I can’t imagine how much she and other members of the family have been through. I just wish my grandma could wake up and say hello to us one more time, so everyone knew that their efforts are worthy and this was not meaningless.

But after all, grandma left us at 1:31 AM on September 15, Vietnam time…

Hơ do I feel? I’m sad, but I’m glad that she is in a better place now – no more pain and no more suffering. She will be able to look at us from afar and bless us with all the best in this world.

Rest in peace, grandma.

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