To Grandpa

February 9th. What was once a regular day to me has now become etched into my heart forever.

Losing a loved one is easily one of the worst feelings one could ever experience. I know this, everyone knows this. But not everyone has experienced it personally.

February 9th 2017. I lost my grandpa on my mum’s side.

He was suffering from pneumonia for about a week prior. I was in the middle of exams and so I was going to visit him right after, but the day after my exams ended, he passed away.

Just like that. He’s gone.

I told myself countless times that he’d be okay. That I could plow through my exams and he’d be alright. That he’d be waiting. I believed the doctors when they said he was getting better. I was naive. And now I’m going to regret it over and over and over again that I didn’t fly back right away to see him. There’s no point in telling me that regretting over this isn’t going to change anything. It hurts so much more because I know it’s true. Nothing I do, nothing I feel, is going to change anything. I can hate myself all I want, I can blame myself endlessly, but nothing’s going to change. Nothing. There’s so many things I could’ve done, should’ve done. But it’s too late.

He’s gone.

I was never that close to my extended family, except for my maternal grandparents. Every summer, I spent 2 months with them in Tokyo. And the moment I fly back home, I’m already impatiently waiting for the next summer to come around. There’s something about the fact that most of my earliest and fondest memories are of me in Japan with my grandparents, despite my time in Japan only being a fraction of my life. Playing under the blazing sun in the backyard that my grandpa put his heart and soul into. The field of vegetables and fruits that he would grow in time for my annual visits. I have yet to come across strawberries that tasted better than his home-grown ones. I loved my grandpa so much. And I know he loved me even more.

I love him. I love him so, so much.

But when I was thinking to myself last night about how many times I’ve actually told him this…I don’t think I ever did.

We always hear people tell us to call our family, and that we’ll end up regretting it if we don’t. But let’s be real – We all get caught up with life. I always hear the typical university student complain about his/her parents calling them too often. I’m guilty of this too. I don’t remember the last time I gave my grandparents a call to check in on how they were doing. I always think that I can call them later. I’ll see them next year. They can wait.

But I guess I’ve been taking this for granted because up until now, they have always been there. They have always waited for me.

But now he’s gone.

I couldn’t even say goodbye to him. I couldn’t tell him how much I loved him, how much I appreciated him. There were so many things I wanted to say to him, but I missed the chance to. I’m sorry for not being there during your pain and struggles. I’m sorry for not being there for your last moments. I’m sorry for not calling more often. I’m sorry for not hugging you enough. I’m sorry for so, so many things.

But Thank You.

Thank you for being an amazing grandpa. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Thank you for your constant hard work so that your children and grandchildren can lead a good life. Thank you for letting me eat all the strawberries and leaving none for others. Thank you for letting me take over your house every summer and putting up with me ripping the sliding paper doors (I was pretty energetic and reckless as a child, wasn’t I). Thank you for secretly passing me allowances even when mum said not to. Thank you for always being silly and reminding us that age truly is just a number. Thank you for being you.

I know you’re in a better place now. But as they say, death is hardest on the living. And I know you don’t want me to be hurting over you, but it’s going to take awhile. But eventually, I’ll look up and realize that

You’re not gone.

After the pain dies down, I’ll look up at the sky and know that you’re watching over me, and everyone you love.

Rest in Peace.

And I guess what I want to say to anyone who read up to this point is, call your loved ones. Don’t take them for granted. Spend more time with them. Thank them. Tell them you love them. Because you really never know when you’ll lose the chance to do so.

Lena

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