www.whyville.net Jul 14, 2013 Weekly Issue

Senior Times Writer

A Decade Away

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Yesterday when you were supposed to come off of the H6 gateway, I was expecting this overwhelming rush of emotions and memories to bombard me by your presence. You were my grandpa after all, one I haven't seen in a LONG time. I was sadly mistaken. Instead, the only emotion encountered was a burning, unsettling state that you are an important part of my life, but I couldn't find out why.

When it came for my turn to hug you, I hoped for a long, meaningful hug that would bring back something --- anything. What I received was mere seconds of awkward patting. I became envious of my mother's tears. The years were proof of memories, something I was sorely lacking in. This realization brought back something I picked up in psychology class: you can't make memories until the age of four. The hazy sideshow memories I "had" of those mere three years were just a recreation of the multiple stories I was told by relatives, fused into faux memories.

I yearn to make new memories with you that won't be compromised by age. But there remains one vast problem: language. After three tedious years of ESOL in elementary school, I had forgone my native language completely and depended on English. While this may have been great progress education-wise, it was detrimental in my ability to communicate with family. I can comprehend the conversation, but when it comes to speaking, it is as though the words have deserted me.

All those horrendous times where I've been forced to speak to relatives on the phone or Skype end within mere seconds of my greeting and asking about your well-being. I've shyed away from any and all conversation with not one, but all my grandparents. And because of this selfish unwillingness to have re-learned the language, I have lost the ability to have a conversation with three of my grandparents forever. Even now, I have relatives who tell me I am the carbon-copy of my grandma and while they may see it as the highest compliment, I see it as mere words. I never attempted to know what she was like, her interests, her behaviors --- I knew nothing. I alienated my grandparents, who've passed away, into complete and utter strangers.

I don't want this to happen to you, I CAN'T let it happen to you. You are the one chance I have left at this widely-appraised grandparent bond. I'd be content with one meaningful conversation with you that I could treasure and ponder over when you leave. My wish is that I will be close enough to you that when we say farewell next month, I will have those tears --- of emotions, of memories. I want to know you.


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