Confessions of a disconnected grandchild

We went to the hospital today to visit my grandmother. She's got a broken wrist from a fall and they're keeping her under observation to be sure nothing else was knocked out of place. But one look at her expression tells you she's heartsick over much else that the doctors can't fix.

She's in the same hospital where she was warded something like fifteen years ago, for a broken hip that left her with a limp she still bears today. The hospital's cleaner, or maybe it's had a fresh coat of paint, and the wards seem brighter. My grandmother seems smaller, shrunken and sadder.

It was mostly my father and my aunt who spoke to her. My brother and I, crippled by language deficiencies, stood silently, smilingly by. It was liberating in that we couldn't resort to the usual platitudes of "how are you", "take care" and "rest well", knowing they would sound flatter than usual, given my grandmother's limited English. But language was just an excuse; it masked the even more embarrassing truth that we had nothing to say to her. Terz --- blessed with the right language, the right timing --- had a more meaningful interview with her earlier this year than I've ever derived from our awkward exchanges.

So I got to leave the hospital with the guilt of having made a token gesture, yi si (to show its meaning, rather than to do something out of genuine feeling), which was yet preferable to the guilt of not having visited at all.


At 9/13/2004 8:17 am , Blogger NARDAC said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9/13/2004 8:17 am , Blogger NARDAC said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9/13/2004 8:17 am , Blogger NARDAC said...

thanks for the update...am so disconnected from entire family that this is how I get the news. fuck.

anyways, know how you feel. Strange to see the mother of my dad as anything other than a memory, someone I get to smile at but generally be confused by once every couple of years. She seems very very small now.

I think that passing moments in family, because I've been separated from the extended family almost all of life, are something you just have to enjoy and really not be angsty or worry about. We may not know or talk to them the same we do our friends, but there's no sense or rationality in family anyways. You're just stuck with them for life and that's all. just have to make her happy by being there and not giving her anymore to worry about.

weird, I miss her and I don't.

At 9/13/2004 8:19 am , Blogger NARDAC said...

can you please erase the two other comments...stupid button internet cafe...brrrrr. repeat repeat


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