Grandmother – part 3
My grandmother passed away four years later, a few months after the 2011 earthquake. My employer at the time worried about my mental state and let me call home from the work phone. My father took the phone to my grandmother’s ear. I spoke into the other side of the phone, “baa-chan” (grandma), and a few seconds later, a frail voice responded, “___- chan” (my name). I started asking her how she was feeling, but my father picked up again and told me my grandmother needed to get back to resting. My sister emailed me a few weeks later to let me know of our grandmother’s passing.
Like I rejected her love as it was too tender, I avoided emotionally engaging with her death. It wasn’t until a decade later, after intense meditation and therapy, that I finally broke down to grieve. Yet I write about her now as quickly as possible to avoid spending much time with the grief.
After the ordeal inflicted by my mother, my grandmother asked me when I went to her room again, “what can I do to improve myself?” I was shocked by the question but didn’t need to hesitate to answer, “there is nothing you have to improve yourself about.”
I resented my mother, father, grandfather, great-aunts, aunts, and uncle for pressuring her to act right to suit THEIR NEEDS. And I was ashamed of myself for having been like them. I had to disconnect myself from my self-interested family members to reflect on my grandmother’s life. What was the meaning of one’s life if it was devoted to such unappreciative idiots?
I like to imagine my grandmother taking her journey to the Buddhist paradise land without my grandfather, who certainly had to go back to the earth for another life of suffering because he didn’t live the last one right. Once arriving there, my grandmother would have made new friends with whom they drank tea, discussed favorite books, and sewed beautiful kimonos for themselves.