Saying goodbye to my grandpa

Yesterday night, my grandpa passed away. 

I was in the hospital with my family, he had choked on some food the week before and got pneumonia as a result. Pneumonia at his age is basically fatal, and he had very little chance of surviving. I took an emergency flight back to Toronto to see him. All of our relatives and family members gathered.. we had to make a decision because he wasn’t getting any better and the doctor said that he would probably die within a week anyways however his oxygen levels would get lower day by day so he would be suffering longer. We decided to just end it faster so that he can die quicker and more peacefully. It was a hard decision to make, and nothing prepares you for this kind of thing.. but it just happens. Dealing with death is hard, especially when it’s the first one that happened directly to you in your family. 

He was 94 years old. He didn’t make it to his 95th birthday which was just 2 weeks later. He didn’t make it to Christmas, where me and my brother originally were scheduled to come back and see him for the first time in 2 years. Because of COVID19, none of us had saw our family in 2 years including our grandpa. I never thought that the next time I would see him, he would be hooked up to a ventilator, and barely able to open his eyes. At least he was able to recognize me a little bit in the morning, but later on he got worse and worse. He was never able to properly speak. I said my goodbyes to him, told him I loved him and thanked him for all the years he took care of us, I don’t think he heard or understood it, but at least I said those things in front of him.

It’s hard to watch anyone die. As far as deaths go, he lived as long and as full a life as anyone could have, living to the ripe old age of 94 and was very active all the way up until the last moment. Pneumonia is considered a ‘natural’ death because it happens so often to old people. And honestly what ‘good’ ways is there to die anyways? there is no good way to die. Everyone dies at some point. We can’t choose the way to die, and we can’t choose how long we live. Of course it was incredibly emotional and sad to see him pass away, but at least he lived a full life, died peacefully, and was surrounded by the people who loved him. That’s about as good a death as you can hope for. It could have been a lot worse. You could die suddenly, from an accident, from cancer, slowly and painfully, or you could end up like my grandma who has dementia and whose brain is basically a vegetable for the past 3 years – that’s a fate worse than death to be honest. There’s a million ways to die. All deaths are sad and tragic, but some are more than others. My grandpa at least died in a way that was probably the best you could hope for. No one lives forever. I feel very scared that someday this will happen to everyone around us. My parents, my brother, my girlfriend, my friends, and ultimately myself as well. It’s just too depressing and sad to think about so most people just don’t think about it but at some point we have to come to terms and deal with it.. it will happen to us someday.

My grandpa was a huge influence in my life. When me and my brother were young, he took care of us when my mom and dad had to work and bring us to school every day. When I got older, he stayed at his own place with grandma and they visited our aunts often, who I would often visit when I was in university. He was a constant presence in my life since I was young. After I moved to California and Korea, I would see him only when I came back to Toronto to see my family. And of course I only had a few months in Vancouver before COVID hit so that was the last time I saw him fully healthy was in 2019. But his mind and body were active up until the last day. He was trying to study English and wrote us English on our Christmas presents when we opened them. He exercised daily, more than anyone else. Remember, he was in his 90s! So he was always telling us to care about our health and to exercise more, and I always admired him for being such a robust man at his advanced age. He was always acting 30 years younger than he actually was. And I always thought he could live to 100… but I guess that was not to be.

In addition to that, I found that many of my Korean female friends that I had known for a long time (1-6 years) started either ignoring my messages or blocking me. One girl that I’ve known since 2015 blocked me on instagram after I commented on her photo complimenting her. Another girl I’ve known since 2016 blocked me a few weeks after she got a boyfriend (not right after she got a bf.. a few weeks later). Another girl I’ve known since 2013 blocked me after I posted about grandpa dying. I’m not sure exactly why. One of my Korean female friends I had known since 2015 blocked me after I asked her how she became pregnant (she was the one who brought it up), two of my Korean friends disappeared from my Kakao totally last year and I don’t have any other contact for them meaning they just disappeared off the map. I seem to be losing my Korean female friends left and right though. Maybe that is just something that was bound to happen after not being able to visit Korea for 2.5 years (clearly the longest amount of time that I hadn’t been to Korea since I first visited in 2013). 

Other updates.. I’m continuing to lose my hair… and continuing to get fat (because of staying home all day and working from home and my condo gym STILL being closed since March 2020). To combat this.. I’ve been trying to use special shampoos for my scalp, thinking about getting hair regrowth laser caps, and eating some special pills containing hair growth vitamins. I’ve also been dieting and focusing a lot on what I eat and how many calories I intake a day.. generally I try to keep below 1500 calories a day. I was at 160lbs so far and now I’m down to 156 ish. This is good, as my BMI was getting high and the amount of abdominal fat I had was getting alarming but now it’s just manageable. I will continue until I’m around the 150 level.