Last week I returned home from a month long trip to Korea. For those of you who read my “Toils of Travel” post, you’re probably thinking, “wasn’t she just there?” You’re right. I was.
For the past two years, my family and I have been making journeys out to South Korea quite often, due to the fact that my grandpa was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. We aimed to spend as much time as possible with him, making beautiful memories by going on mini-vacations, eating the best food, and sharing stories about the good ol’ days.
This trip was a little different. Grandpa’s health had declined greatly since our last trip just two months ago. In fact, I am deeply sorrowed to say that my grandpa passed away during the middle of our stay, but on the other hand I am comforted that he is now free of pain and with the Lord, probably eating a lot of 콩국수 (Korean noodles) and watching (or even playing) a ton of baseball up in heaven. I could go on forever about the precious things I learned about life and death during this experience, but that wouldn’t be too relevant to “Delbasid,” would it?
During the last few weeks leading up to my grandpa’s flight to heaven, there were infinities of moments where I wished I could help him in some way. And I don’t mean help as in heal him in some way or anything big like that (even though that would’ve been nice as well). I mean help with the little things. Rarely do I get upset about the fact that I am delbasid, yet here I found myself frustrated that I could not get my grandpa a cup of water or push him around in his wheelchair or even change the tv channel to something he would enjoy more. In fact, (and I’m really really really not looking for pity here) I often felt more like a burden. I caught myself thinking my mom and other family members inevitably had to take care of me when they could have been spending more time with grandpa, and other things like that.
Then I realized, it’s not about me.
One day, my mom and I were sitting in my grandpa’s room as he was laying in bed. I decided to put my feet up on his bed, for my feet tend to get swollen from sitting all day. My grandpa had a fever for his last several days, thus he always felt hot. On the contrary, my feet are always cold. In that moment, my grandpa grabbed my foot, beamed, said they were the perfect temperature, and fell asleep holding my it. As funny as it may seem, I was merely resting my feet up on my grandpa’s bed, and that was exactly what he needed.
Each day, I went into my grandpa’s room, sometimes watching tv with him, holding his hand, talking to him, or letting him hold my feet. As time went on, he lost the ability to do all of these things. At that point, I was literally just there, doing nothing, next to his side. Still, whenever he could, my grandpa looked me in the eyes and smiled. I was finally able to understand and accept that truly all a loved one needs is for you to be there.
Your presence and existence is enough.