The week started with indecision. I got a call from my dad who said he was on a plane with my half-sister, Grace, to visit Nana (his mom). The doctors had given her a week or two to live.
The first thought that struck me was that I should go too…but what about my wife and kids? My wife’s been dealing with her own medical stuff lately and then, too, there was Miko, the cat, who might have intestinal cancer. There was the cost—did we have enough miles for a ticket? Could we all go? She had never even met one of my kids.
I used to always make decisions on my own and I wasn’t always open to others’ advice, but now I don’t do that, at least for big decisions. Of course I talked it over with my wife, but I also checked in with a couple other friends and got their best thinking on the matter and listened to their experiences in similar situations. They didn’t tell me what to do but they helped me sort out details and logistics from my feelings and what really mattered. And yes, there are considerations for an expensive trip like this, but it was important to me to not have any regrets. I love my grandma and she represents an important link in my heritage and identity. I couldn’t imagine having an opportunity to say goodbye and not taking it.
Things began to fall into place. The medical stuff with my wife and the cat weren’t urgent. We had enough miles to cover one ticket, and most importantly, I was clear on what I wanted. So now I’m on a plane with a heavy heart but a lot of gratitude for this opportunity. I haven’t always had the chance to say goodbye to those I love before they passed on, but this time, things are different.
Another question that’s been turning over and over in my head since deciding to go is How do I do this? What do you say? How do you act? What’s important? I’ve had some ideas and gotten lots of ideas from others, and what I’ve come to is that even though this is something we all go through, each of our experiences is different. I’m not alone but my path is my own and only I can walk it. When I land I just want to be present and open with no expectations. I’m going to focus on breathing and just pray for strength, patience, an open mind, and an open heart. The rest will fall into place.
I’ve been in Hawaii just over 24 hours now and will be following up on this journey when I can.