Avoiding Crisis

getting reaquainted

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Tomorrow we (and in “we” I mean the kids and I since A left this evening to return home to Buenos Aires) along with my parents head up north to New Jersey for a few days.  We are going to visit with my grandparents, who I haven’t seen in a while, and who the kids don’t really know.  It’s an important trip for me.  One that I will gladly brave the cold for.  

But it is also a somewhat difficult trip.

As a kid I remember going away to sleep away summer camp for 8 weeks and returning to my hometown amazed at how things seemed to change.  A new building was being constructed, another knocked down.  A traffic light was put up where a stop sign had been.  The tree in the front yard dying, the bushes along the front walkway, overgrown.  Things were different. Everything seemed familiar, but not the same.

I’m somewhat apprehensive about visiting with my grandparents.  I last saw them in October of 2006 and only for a day.  Soon after that my grandfather had triple bypass heart surgery. 

Since leaving the United States 5 years ago, in addition to the heart surgery, my grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  During our time away my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent chemotherapy and radiation, and recently has become practically immobile due to severe and untreatable back pain. 

They’re bodies have been through a lot.  They have gotten older.  They’re age has caught up with them.  Their faces are gaunter, their hair grayer, their movements slower, their moods more depressed.  They are no longer who I remember when I close my eyes and picture them – active, vibrant, full of life. 

I am afraid that I will be sad when I see them, that I will be unable to hide my emotion, that they will sense my fear; my fear of losing them, of losing anyone close to me. And yet, at the same time, I can’t wait to sit and talk to my grandparents, to spend time with them, to watch them interact with my children.   I have so many questions for them.  Questions about life — their lives, their childhoods, their memories and experiences.  I’m just hoping that they are willing to open up and talk to me, to tell me their story, to tell me of their life experiences, to tell me so that I might be able to tell my children and they in turn can tell their own. 

I have an emotional and difficult few days ahead of me.  My grandparents of 5 years ago are so very different then my grandparents today.  But I only know them from 5 years ago.  Soon, very soon, we will be reacquainted.

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Written by nicolemarie

February 1, 2008 at 12:46 am

Posted in family

Tagged with , , , ,

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