I’m not really that close with my grandparents. I wish I was, but we’ve never had that type of relationship. I live in Hong Kong, they live in Toronto— one long flight away. One of my friends FaceTimes her grandparents everyday, but my grandparents don’t use modern technology. The most modern technology they have is a TV and a home phone. So the most I talk to them is twice a year.
Recently, my mom has been receiving frequent calls from my grandma describing my grandpa’s deteriorating situation. He’s not eating much, and it takes him a lot of effort to walk. Since receiving this news, my mom has been researching flights to Toronto. Especially with all of the COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines regarding who is or is not allowed to enter certain countries, it has been really stressful for my mom. If we were to fly to Toronto, we would have to be quarantined before we can meet my family. With school starting soon, it would be quite hectic. I would have to adjust to the time zone difference, and I would have to attend class late at night. I don’t mean to make light of the situation, I’m just thinking about my possible reality.
I also think about my brother. He’s a college student living by himself in New York. I imagine him flying alone after my mom breaks the news. If it were me, I know I would break down. Again, hopefully this doesn’t happen. I’m just a person who runs through all the possibilities.
Every summer we visit Toronto. So right now, I should be there… but I can’t, not unless it's absolutely necessary. I hope that my grandpa will get better soon. I’ve never had a death in my family. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents are still living. I haven’t faced the reality of death yet, and I hope I won’t have to soon. Although we haven’t talked much, I still love my grandpa. Even though we only ever talk once or twice a year, they are moments that I am most fond of.
Written by: Naomi Katayama