Friday, April 18, 2014

When you say nothing at all

A few weeks ago, my grandfather (on my father's side) was rushed into hospital because of a fever. I got the news by late afternoon and was asked to come to the hospital to translate and take over that job from my cousin. My grandmother was there as well, tired and confused. As stubborn as  she was, she would still stand up next to the bed and hold my grandfathers hands. Looking at my grandfather, he reminded me of my little brother when he was younger. He had this anxious look on his face like not knowing anything and yet frightened.   He looked at me, scared over the whole situation but also of me, because he did not seem to recognise me. I took over for my grandmother and let her legs have a rest and while holding my grandfathers hands he eventually fell asleep. While he was sleeping I took the opportunity to talk with my grandmother about old times. She told me about my behaviour as a baby and i found out that i lived with her about 2 month. I learned i was a little brat as a baby and that i was a mini Michelin man. I always wanted my grandmother to carry me around until she got tired and i had a great love for warm milk. I lived with her alone the most of the time of my stay, because my grandfather would travel overseas for the most of the time. My grandmother told me i only got to live with my own parents for less than 3 months before moving away and that because i moved away in such an early phase in my life, that i did not recognise them. She told me that I was scared of my own parents and when she moved to make space for my parents on the sofa, i would move after her because they were unfamiliar.  She told me i called my father Anh (older brother) Tinh and my mother for Chi(older sister) Thuy, because that was what my grandparents would call them. The most funny thing about it was that i even remembered saying that once and got scolded because i couldn't say something like that because is was disrespectful.

We started talking about old days and how my grandfather used to behave. I remembered him as a strict but happy man. He always smiled and always wanted a hug whenever i saw him and within the last 5 years he's completely changed. He doesn't remember who i am and not even most of his children. I tend to ask him "who am i?" and as day goes by he takes more time to answer me. He doesn't always remembers my dad neither his brothers and sisters and if you ask him how many children he has, he would answer 3-4 despite the fact he has 8 children.
In the end we talked about how my grandmother isn't my true grandmother. To make a long story short, my grandfather remarried about 35 years ago because my true grandmother died and he married his wife's brother's wife, because my true grandmother died of cancer at that time and her brother drowned while escaping Vietnam. I've always thought my current grandmother was my real grandmother, but about 6 years ago i found out by coincidence she wasn't. She asked me, that now that i know, if anything has changed. At first i was taken by surprise of the news and I was emotionally stressed. Finding out somebody isn't that somebody you thought in you head is stressing because you have grown with the thought throughout the years. And yet, it was something stupid to be stressed about....

I told her that despite the fact that she's not related to me by blood, it doesn't change anything. I  know her as my grandmother since birth and moreover something like genetics doesn't change my feelings towards her. I told her that we have a stronger bond than blood and that's love. 

Remember to love a person for who they are, not what they are. Because a person has a specific position (and that position has a certain name) in your life, it doesn't mean that you will automatically love them.