GoodbyesPosted: July 25, 2012
To be honest, I don’t think I felt very sad during my grandfather’s funeral and burial. Instead I felt emotionally detached from the rest of my grieving family who held each other and cried. I watched them mourn and it made me feel weird and awkward. I just didn’t have time to be that sad at the moment; I was in the process of cleaning and packing up my apartment when I heard the news. So, in a heartless way, I guess I was thinking it seemed like an inconvenient time for him to kick it. Does this make me a cold and uncaring person? Maybe.
Or maybe I prefer to hide behind sarcasm and humor.
To be honest, I just wasn’t that close to my grandfather. But don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful for everything he’s done for our family. His life story is stuff of legend. Avoiding the North Korean army draft and escaping south at the age of 17, scrapping by with barely nothing until he was given a break and studied medicine, only to immigrate with his family to America, where he was required to redo his residency as an anesthesiologist at his 40s? It’s unbelievable and is well-worthy of so much respect.
Or maybe in the recent months I’ve also come to view him as the symbol of the old, Asian-immigrant-typical ideals and pressures that I’ve been trying so hard to shrug off.
To be honest, I find my patience with my family wearing thin. I love my cousins, but the elders leave something to be desired. Everyone is so high-frequency, high-strung, high-energy, that within 5 minutes of being around them, I’m stressed out of my mind. So it’s a little difficult to take the grieving/funeral/burial process seriously when my aunts start panicking about multiple services and different things they want to see happen. I can understand that it’s a Korean culture thing (I guess?) but come on, I’m only half Korean. And not even that; I consider myself American before anything else. I’ve already accepted my grandfather’s passing the last time I saw him in the hospital, so I felt that all this excess grieving and ceremony to be unnecessary. I guess I sound selfish and rather disrespectful. But I don’t really feel the need to have to justify my feelings to anyone, since they’re my feelings and mine alone.
Or maybe it’s because a series of frustrations have been piling up in my conscious, filling it to the brim, and I don’t have the room to dedicate to grieving without letting my entire mental state dissolve into pieces.
Goodbyes are one of those things of mine, things I know I should learn to do and accept but I just can’t.
(See also: close physical/non-sexual intimate contact [hugging, etc])
It could be denial, that I don’t want to have to accept that I have to move on. It could be cowardice, that I don’t want to have to face whatever it is I’m leaving. It could be fear, that I will lose the person/people/place forever. So as a result, I take preemptive measures to ensure I don’t get hurt.
Which is another thing I tend to do when it comes to social interaction. But maybe more on that some other time.
I was chosen to be one of the pallbearers. Well, more like drafted, as my father simply pointed out me and two of my other cousins to assist with it, but it felt like an honor regardless.
The whole ceremony does make me wonder about how I might have to bury my father someday and how I’ll hold myself then. Or who knows, maybe I’ll die in a freak accident and he’ll have to be the one who buries me. Except I don’t like the idea of a burial. The embalming process is kinda weird, and besides, I don’t want my body to rise up during the zombie apocalypse. So yeah, just cremate me.
It’s definitely been an odd week, and this is only one dimension of some type of mental struggle I’ve been going through. Though, I have been thinking of this song, with my grandfather’s passing and all.