years later, while mindlessly typing, my fingers spell out X-A-N-G-A.
years later, while mindlessly typing, my fingers spell out X-A-N-G-A.
Jessica says my eulogy is like a blog post so I decided to post it.
My grandfather loved to garden.
When I was young, I remember going to my grandfather’s house. His house used to be a very large lot down on Lower Azusa. I think I spent most of my time playing computer games on my uncle’s computer, but when I wasn’t doing that, I’d spend my time in the backyard. In the backyard was this large garden. It was endless. I don’t recall ever seeing the back of the garden. This garden was filled with plants and vegetables my grandfather had planted. Though I don’t remember all the plants he grew, I remember he used to have these large sunflowers that I’d always imagine eating. To this day, when I see sunflowers I think of my grandfather’s garden.
I know gardening was important to him because when he moved to a new house with no place to garden, he had a small lot in a community garden down in Alhambra. My grandfather must have loved nurturing things. I do remember there being a dog at his house. A Labrador if I’m not mistaken.
And I remember at his house on Duarte, he used to have hundreds of birds in the side area. Small birds. I’d sneak inside the walk-in cage and listen to them chirp. They were so loud.
Which reminds me, my grandfather was also deaf.
If you have never seen my mom talk with my grandfather, you’d be surprised. I think those that work with my mom would know what I’m talking about. My niece, Megan would say… why is harmi yelling at him.
My grandfather couldn’t hear much.
I think personally his deafness was adaptive. He had 4 daughters… 4 strong-minded strong-willed daughters, plus harmoni. I think his deafness was probably a blessing in disguise. “Don’t talk to me unless you really need something.”
I think, in this quiet, my grandfather was given the time to think and reflect on life and… on God.
My grandfather was a devout Christian. He would always be carrying a religious book or the bible or the Sabbath school lesson plan. When our family would get together, there wasn’t any question who was going to pray for the meal. My grandfather prayed with much vigor and ferocity. In these moments, I could pick out what he was thinking about, concerns he may have.
Later in his years, when he and my grandmother lived in Boyle Heights, I was commissioned by my mom to visit my grandparents every week. I would take food to their apartment and clean the place; take out the trash, clean the bathroom. vacuum. wash dishes. Things like that. I remember him smiling and chuckling that I’d do those things.
I did those things the first time I went. Every time I went afterwards, the bathroom would already be clean before I got there. There was only a few things in the trash can, the house already vacuumed.
So I’d visit and have nothing to do. I’d find my grandfather usually reading or watching tv. He’d always give me a big smile when I’d come and he would sit me on the couch. I’d say, Harabogi, jar jeen nah say yo? And he’d smile and ask how school was. The conversation would usually end there and I’d spend the next hour watching Korean tv until my grandfather would tell me I should probably head home to miss traffic.
This was our normal routine.
One time, after my grandmother passed away I was driving my grandfather home after a family party and we were stumbling through another conversation. Between the uhs and hmms and nehs, I just stopped and it became quiet.
I said to him, or rather to my dashboard in English, I’m sorry. Harabogi, I know you’re a wise man, and I wish I could talk to you, know what you’re thinking, be able to pick your brain. But my Korean is so bad. I’m sorry.
He gave me his smile and the rest of the car ride was quiet.
I remember one of the last times I visited him at his house.
It was the same routine. Hi Harlbogi, jar jeen nah suh yo.. Etc.
But this time he sat me down and said these two things to me that I won’t forget. He said it slowly to make sure I understood.
At the time I think I found it comical. But in hindsight, I think this was the most important word of wisdom he wanted to give me. To have a family based around Christ.
I look at his family. To my aunts and uncle to those they married, to my cousins. It’s filled with elders and deacons and deaconesses. Praise leaders, choir members, small group leaders. People devoted to the churches they attend. I think that’s what made my grandfather smile.
Someday I hope to take on his example and have a Christian family like my grandfather’s.
I’m saddened by the passing of my grandfather but now he rests peacefully. Next time we meet, I am encouraged to know the conversation will be more than jar jeen nah say yo and we can finally have a deep conversation with each other.
old man before all his possessions
I checked my weight and my quarter grades today. One was a little higher than I’d hope. One was a little lower.
I sit, in my personal space;
there’s room for 4, maybe 5 if you’re small.
But usually, it’s occupied by only me.
It can take me places I’ve never seen before,
but I go to the same places,
every day and every week – since as long as I can remember.
100 years ago, people could only dream
of the speeds life travels in front of my eyes.
I daydream here.
There are moments… brief moments,
but still too long for some –
Moments where we both stop to watch red autumn leaves falling –
I can see you in your personal space.
Yours is like mine.. probably built for 4, maybe five
but most likely you’re alone too…
I don’t know you, but do you know I care for you?
if you were hungry, I’d share my lunch with you.
if your dog ran away, I’d search with you…
but too quickly, winter leaves turn green –
and we’re gone,
stuck in our personal spaces.
we have room for more,
but we are probably alone.
Day 2 was hard. Much harder than the first day. I had a busy day and I think that’s what contributed for it. Right around the afternoon, I started getting a numb pain on the top of my head. I was also having a little bit of trouble concentrating. At night, my muscles/joints started to ache. I get the same feeling in my muscles after I work out too.
I read that on the second/third day you’re supposed to get a surge of energy, but I haven’t yet.
I had a two-hour class in the evening and although I had a drink before class, I was dying to come home to drink the next one. Too hungry and my head hurt.
I’m taking in so many liquids but I’m still dehydrated. Pressed Juicery recommends to drink 2 liters of water a day on top of the drinks. Each one of the bottles is about .5 liters so I’m supposed to be drinking about 5 liters a day. Insane.
On a positive note, I’ve lost 2 pounds but I think I know why.
What this diet has made me realize is how much I snack throughout the day. While driving home, I passed a 7-11 and every part of me wanted to buy a ice cream sandwich. During break, I wanted to buy a snickers bar from the vending machine. Every time I passed the snack bar in my house, I wanted to grab something small to munch on.
Little things that add up to too many calories.
One day, when I was teaching English in Korea, someone brought a lot of watermelons. Late at night, the older high school students and I dared each other to eat a whole watermelon. Through the wee hours of that night, the bathrooms in the boys’ dorm probably got the most traffic it had ever seen. I had never peed so much in my entire life… until maybe yesterday.
I guess it only makes sense given the amount of liquids I’ve been drinking that I’d be ‘going’ a lot, but I swear I think I’m peeing more than I’m drinking. The feeling is sudden and too frequent.
Day one passed relatively easily. I can say that I never was hungry; I can’t be. My stomach is literally always full. I’m ingesting 16 oz drinks every 2 hours plus 2 more 16 oz drinks to drink in between those plus extra water. I think I’m having an easier time of it than my girlfriend.
I think the hardest part is not the hunger but cravings. I crave something loaded with salt or butter. Peanuts or pretzels. Meat and rice. Bread from the boat. Chips and sour cream eaten in the car.
I took a nap in the afternoon; I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. Of course, it was rudely interrupted because of my need to go to the bathroom again. I had an odd headache located on the top of my head. We took a short trip around the town on our bikes even though strenuous exercise isn’t recommended but I think that really helped a lot. My head felt better after.
Day two; I already drank drink #1 (greens 2). It tastes better than what I remember but may I’m just used to it. I’m already dreading drinking roots 4 and the chlorophyll.
Oh, I weighed myself this morning and I weigh the same. Bleh.