Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Guilt

My grandmother had a stroke on Monday. I found out on Tuesday via two forwarded emails from my mother, the originals having been written by my grandfather, who was a doctor before retirement, and my mom's cousin, who is also a doctor and lives in Hawaii. She seems to be all right--her speech is slightly slurred but still understandable, and she can now walk again--but it still came as a shock. She's had some health problems, but mostly she appears very healthy. Her hair is even still almost entirely black (there's just some silver in front of her ears), and she still drives her car. She drove me to get shave ice when I was there in March. This is all just a reminder that she is 86 years old, and once you reach that age, all bets are off. Things can change so quickly.

I feel bad because none of her children or grandchildren are there. None of us can go visit her in the hospital. All of us live too far away from Hawaii. If things were really bad, we'd all buy tickets out to see her, but as it is, we're just making phone calls to her hospital room. I will be moving to Hawaii later this summer, but I'm not there yet. The timing was so close for me being there to help keep her company in the hospital. But not quite. Hold on, Popo, I'm coming!!

My other bit of guilt came from my conversation with my grandfather on Tuesday night.

Gung-Gung: So, have you figured out when you're moving out here?
Me: No, still not yet.
Gung-Gung: Do you know what you're going to do about a car?
Me: I think I do want a car in Hawaii, so I might drive my car to the West Coast and ship it from L.A. or somewhere...
Gung-Gung: You could have our car. You know I don't drive [his seeing is really bad], and I don't think Popo will be driving anymore.

No, Gung-Gung, I don't want your car! I want Popo to still be driving! Their car is considerably older and crappier than my car, but more importantly, I don't want to get a car because my grandmother had a stroke. Congratulations, your grandmother could have died, and you've won a free car! I didn't ask for it, it was my grandfather's idea, but still, it's not something I want to have on my mind every time I get into my car. I guess I don't really need a nice car, the insurance would be cheaper with their car, I won't exactly be going on long car rides on the island, and it would be nice to turn my new-ish car into a chunk of cash... Maybe I will end up taking their car, but it makes me feel guilty just thinking about it.

I hope my grandmother is all right. I hope her life hasn't changed too much and she can go on as normal. I guess next time I'm out in Hawaii, it will be my turn to drive her to get shave ice.

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