Monday, April 25, 2011

Heavy Heart

Proud Pop, 2001. Notice the UT t-shirt, my alma mater. 
I know it appears I've abandoned this before it's even started, but I guess as is usually the case with me, I have impeccable timing. I started this thing just as the health of my dear grandfather, aka Pop, is deteriorating. He's battling cancer — one more time.

It's been really hard the last couple of months. But he's strong, a fighter. Always has been and I hope will 'til the very end. As hard as it is to write that.

I can't even describe how much I love Pop. I mean, honestly can't describe it, I'm struggling to find the words to explain it to you right now.

He was born in China and moved to Texas at a very young age. He met my Nana, who is Mexican, in Laredo when they were both very young. They married and started a family and settled in San Antonio. He speaks Chinese, English and Spanish. Though he still has a Chinese accent, it's amazing to watch him speak Spanish, particularly since I never learned! I know, it's really lame, but I attempted it in high school and college. I understand un poquito.

When I was little, my favorite book was Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. I don't even remember what it's about, but I do remember being so proud that I had a Pop. And I'm still proud and I'm frightened and sad about the day when I don't have one anymore. I'm thankful that I've had him for so long. I'm really not prepared for this. I assume you never really are.

He was born in 1923. He loves to talk and can tell you how much milk or gas or bananas cost in, say, 1942. And he'll tell you every single time he sees you. I love it when he starts his tirades about politics or how he'll start certain sentences with, "It's like the people always say..." or when he says stuff like, "I dunno?!" or "What the hay?" all with a thick Chinese accent. It's adorable.

December 2008
He never learned to drive, but he and my Nana's favorite ride at the amusement park was that drive-the-car ride. You know, the one that allows you to "drive" along a track, waving at those standing by. He loved to drive her around. I always loved that about them. I can picture it now.

We lost my Nana almost 20 years ago, very suddenly. She was 64. We weren't sure he'd live much longer without his beloved, he told us he was ready to go too and I was so worried, but he's still here! TWENTY years later.

He battled colon cancer not too long after Nana passed. Years after fighting that, he got cancer again, in his arm. They removed pretty much the entire muscle, but he fought that too. A couple of years ago, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. It's been hard. Much harder to fight. And I hate it.

He has always been super independent and self-sufficient. My grandfather lived alone after Nana passed and despite not ever driving, he totally got around, riding the bus and walking everywhere! These days, he lives with my Aunt (thank God for her!) and uses a walker around her house, a wheelchair when we go out and is on oxygen 24 hours a day. He's not able to get up on his own, so my Aunt or one of my Uncles or his care provider must help him.

It would be a lot better if he weren't in so much pain. Though he'd NEVER tell me so, I know he is. When I call, he tells me he's good and always wants to know how T and I are doing. He's a trooper. Makes me wish there was something I could do to take it all away from him. He's got a lot of life left in him, I know it.

With everything happening so fast, my family all came over from the East Coast to check in on him, try to lift his spirits. Possibly say goodbye. It broke my heart to think that this might be the last time they see him. But it worked. His spirits were lifted and for the last three weeks, mine were too.

You should have seen how happy he was to see everyone. My sister and her family came first with her husband and two baby girls. He got to meet my youngest niece for the first time and she absolutely adored him (as is usually the case), she's only 6 months old! He ate it up, it was so awesome to watch. He also got to video chat with my brother's wife and children and he was over the moon.
March 2011 with my angel of an Aunt.
Seeing everyone literally put a spring back in his step. When it was time to go to lunch the other day, he practically ran back to his room to get his hat. My Aunt spotted him, but still, we couldn't believe how fast he was moving.

When we got to the Chinese buffet, one of his favorites, he had plate after plate of shrimp. He used to always tell me to never eat the fillers like egg rolls or rice, to load up on the seafood. "You need to get your money's worth!" How fantastic that hasn't changed. While we were there, it was also so cool to watch my baby brother taking such good care of him. He wheeled my Pop around helping him choose what he wanted, cracking the crab legs open for him, making sure he was okay and really not eating much to put Pop first. In the sadness of it all, it was a proud moment.

My point is, it's just been a hard time. And worse, they just ran some tests and found some more spots on his brain and in his shoulder. He's started radiation already. My Aunt tells me that it's supposed to alleviate some of his pain by the fifth treatment. He's already had three and she said she can tell he's doing much better.

Bless her for taking such good care of him. She told my Mom that as long as she's living, Pop will never live in a home.I'm so thankful and I love her to pieces. I'm ashamed that I probably don't articulate how appreciative I am of her.

So this is why I've been MIA. I'm thinking about him a lot.Have spent a lot of time with family lately. My mind is elsewhere.

He was there for my high school graduation, he was there when I graduated from UT and he wants to be there for my wedding. Quite frankly, I want him to be there too. He's always been our proud grandfather. I hope he knows how very much he's loved and that we're really proud of him too.


  1. Heart felt and touching Krita! I know how painful it is so see your Grandparents suffering in pain due to poor health and yet smiling and giving you encouragement. I really hope it beets better, at least easier. I am sure he knows how much you love him. Here's sending you a *hug* and a lot of strength!

    ♡ from ©

  2. what a beautiful heartfelt wonderful post, kristakins. i LOVE how much YOU LOVE your dear pop.
    he's in my prayers.

  3. Oh, I'm on the verge of tears... You and your family are in my prayers. I heart you and please let me know if there's anything I can do or if you need anything. I've never been close to my grandparents and my grandfathers both past. I always wished I had the type of loving relationship you have with your grandfather...