Death In The Family

March 1, 2015 Comments Off on Death In The Family

My grandpa — 爷爷 — died this morning.

He was more than 90 years old, and his health had been declining for years. The most recent pictures I saw were of him lying in bed in some kind of hospice, curled up with his eyes tightly closed and a thin tube wrapped around his head going into his nose. He didn’t look comfortable.

My dad told me last month when he showed me the pictures that my grandpa was no longer able to eat or digest food, thus the feeding tube. 爷爷 wasn’t tall from what I remember, but he was still healthily hefty just a few years ago, but had wasted away to skin and bones.

He had dementia for the past number of years as well. He had started forgetting who we were even in 2008, the last time we went to China as a family. Grandma would admonish him to say hi to us. “Who?” he’d say. Dad would have to introduce himself. “It’s me; your son.” 爷爷 would smile and nod. “Ah, yes, good.”

I have a picture of him from when I visited Shenyang by myself in 2010, when he could still feed himself and get around slowly with his walker. “Sometimes grandpa remembers who I am … but usually not,” I wrote.

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Déja Vu

August 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

The smell of burning invaded my nostrils and I realized that I was repeating an experience that happened over three years ago. From my old blog [my writing was certainly very dramatic back in high school]:

A stupid fly was buzzing endlessly around my room last night.

Generally, flies aren’t extremely difficult to exterminate; however, this particular insect was frustratingly hyperactive, refusing to land on one surface for more than one second at a time. As I stood in the middle of my room waiting for the fly to come near me, I heard it land in my big floor lamp [you know, the tall skinny one that all Asians have].

The buzzing stopped.

I waited to see if the bug would fly out again, but the silence was permanent. Just to be sure, though, I climbed onto my chair and peered into the top of my lamp.
Smoke rose from the bright bulb, dancing elegantly in the air.
I was creeped out for a moment; the fly had burned to death and now its corpse continued to smolder. My lamp was a chamber of death!
I also rejoiced, for my lamp did for me what I could not do myself: get rid of the nasty insect.

Returning my chair to my desk, it hit me.
It hit me hard.

The putrid fumes of the burning fly. Noxious waves of it, rolling over me, an unbearably pungent stench. Oh, it was horrid.
I rubbed pearberry lotion all over my nostrils and opened my window in order to clear my room of the fly’s toxic onslaught, torturing me even after its death.

O cursed creature! Happy am I that you have fallen! Begone from this place, o vile one!

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