My grandpa’s 82nd birthday was on December 19th. All day long, I planned to call him and wish him a happy birthday, but I never got around to it because I worked all morning and afternoon at my day job, then went straight to my restaurant job and didn’t get off until 9pm or so. I felt bad for not calling him, but figured since I had sent him a birthday card in the mail earlier that week, he would still know that I was thinking of him. I also told myself that I could still call him over the weekend to wish him a happy belated birthday, but I never got around to it.
On Wednesday, January 14th, my grandpa passed away unexpectedly from a brain aneurism. Since I had neglected to call him on his birthday in December, the last time I had seen or talked to him was June.
I was not close to my grandpa by any means. He traveled a lot when I was growing up, so I don’t remember seeing him around much, even for holiday get togethers or special milestones like my high school graduation, college graduation, or wedding. Along with being pretty MIA, my grandpa was not the easiest person to get along with. My mom would always vent to me, my dad, and my siblings about how difficult, stubborn, and self-centered my grandpa was sometimes. He didn’t speak to his siblings and vice versa. And when my mom was dying from cancer, he only came to see her once, and he did not come to her funeral which resulted in a falling out between him and one of my uncles. Essentially, my grandpa did things the way he wanted to do them, even if others didn’t agree with him.
When my grandpa died, I found out through Facebook thanks to a status update my cousin posted. Later that day, one of my uncles texted me and my siblings to formally let us know. I think because of the way I was notified, my grandpa’s death didn’t really sink in or hit me those first couple weeks. I felt nothing, but I figured that once I attended his funeral, his death would finally become real and I would finally feel the emotions I was waiting for.
I attended his funeral over the weekend, and I am sad to say that I still did not end up feeling much. Of course, I felt sad during the funeral, but it nowhere near matched the kind of sadness I felt when my mom and grandma died. I guess it’s hard to feel any sense of loss when you lose someone whom you never had a relationship with and rarely ever saw.
The death of my grandpa has been instilling a lot of regret inside of me these last couple weeks. My grandpa and I were not close and he was not the easiest person to get along with, but I still wish things had been different. I wish I would have asked him more about his life in China before coming to America and his experience in World War 2. I wish he was around more when I was growing up and that we had spent more quality time together. I wish I realized how much he loved and cared about me, even though he had a different way of showing it. I wish I had made the time to call him on his birthday so I could talk to him one last time before he was gone.