Reload: Our Last 50 Hours…

My wound hadn’t even healed from 7 months ago, then last April 17, I had to feel the loss one more time… This time for my beloved grandpa </3

I’m floating—with no anchor to ground me. I don’t know how to explain my feeling or emotion anymore, and it’s just that I’m staying alive. I’m not functioning well… The deaths that took our beloved away left a significant heartbreak. Forever. And. Ever!

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Of the many parts of the brain and nerves, the amygdala deals with emotional processing, behavior, and memory—located in the middle of the brain, adjacent to the hippocampus–the part associated with memory formation.

I’m still digesting how my amygdala and hippocampus process every event in my life, and I desperately hope that I have enough strength to arrange everything according to my will.

Going more profound than that, based on research from the University of California, Riverside, published in Nature Neuroscience, humans will permanently store past trauma in the connections between memory neurons in the prefrontal cortex of the human brain.

The ridiculous thing is, it’s only been 7 months–not even a year passed since I felt the trauma of losing a close family member (my dear aunt), and the pain remains. Then, I need to return to feel the same feeling, even more, painful than before… Tell me, how should I process this humanely?

I still find it challenging to think about what happened to my Grandpa. It was a mixture of things as he was a person and a particular person in my life–Grandpa, who is way more like my dad, as I was raised by him since I was two years old. It’s so hard to handle as I lost 1 of the loving person in my life.. for good, permanently. No matter how hard I try to convince myself that, everything will be fine, in fact… it’s NOT!

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Still recorded clearly in my memory that I was the closest person on Grandpa’s side during his last 50 hours. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about that day. I’m not sure we were prepared to lose him like that, even though he was getting on. 

Grandpa’s health had been getting worse since the beginning of 2023. On that particular day–Saturday night, April 15, starting at 9-ish PM at home, Grandpa was screaming in pain for his right leg as he said it was like being stabbed. I tried my best by giving him medicine, massaging his feet, then asking him to try to sleep. But it failed all night; he could not sleep, often groaned in pain, and occasionally complained that his head was tremendously dizzy. Then my family decided to take him to the hospital the following day. Long story short, Grandpa had to be hospitalized for an overall check which only allowed 1 person to accompany him to stay. No visits were allowed since he had pneumonia and spots on his lungs, so he was only allowed to stay in a private room.

At first, Grandma insisted on taking care of Grandpa, but there was no way I would be willing to let her. So, I was the one who ended up taking care of Grandpa. Moreover, what made me sad is that his memory is occasionally out of sync, as he often thought he was at home, not in the hospital. Even on Monday morning, he said that there was his late daughter–which is my late aunt in the room with us.

 Ahh.. there is no room for anything else inside my mind.

On Monday, April 17, at dawn, Grandpa suddenly had a seizure, and his condition dropped. My knees went limp instantly when the doctor, nurse, and I tried to call him out, but his eyes only opened to stare at the ceiling, kept his mouth shut tight, and didn’t answer us at all. I’m afraid I’m not ready yet… Thank God he was back to normal after 2 hours and ready to go through the several screenings scheduled for that day.

Throughout that day, I could still chat with Grandpa, and even his appetite improved a lot, making me sure that he would be able to go home soon. Then suddenly, it felt like an authentic nightmare.

My relief had to disappear again at around half past nine PM when I found Grandpa unconscious after replacing his diapers. I was so weak, and my mind went blank. I froze before finally shaking his body, trying to wake him up but still no answer. Even though I didn’t want to do it, I tried to check his pulse on his wrist and neck, leaned against his chest, trying to feel his breath, even to feel if there were breaths between the breathing tubes in his nose. But as my worst fears came true, the result was nothing.

Then it was just like a flash moment over my eyes. Started from when I pressed the emergency bell to call out to the nurse, the code blue was turned on, until when the nurses and doctors tried to save Grandpa’s heartbeat so that it could move again using a defibrillator, even the last effort was using a ventilator to force him to breathe again. All these efforts were fruitless. 

I desperately wished Grandpa to be alive, but God never granted it. My family and I had come to heel with reality when the doctor announced Grandpa’s death at 10.58 PM on April 17, 2023.

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Since he left, I have cried a lot. I know I have to stop… I miss and regret everything we did together that I took for granted, even the tiny things. I admit he is no longer sick; rest in peace, without screaming in pain every minute.

As hard as I wish I could use that time much better, I know it will never happen. If I could go back to that time… Well, surreal, yet indeed the best 50 hours I ever had with Grandpa; I could not be grateful enough for the chance.

Hopefully, we can meet again in the afterlife. In the meantime, I will try my best to smile, be happy, live wisely, work hard, and do whatever I like with humility.

Until no limit of time, being his grandchild is God’s beautiful gift to me.

My primary lesson so far is to make the best of every moment. I, therefore, urge all of us to try as much as possible to show kindness, compassion, and love to our family, relatives, friends, and all our beloved ones because…

Life is too short, as the next day
is never guaranteed.

What will come after this? No idea…

He returned to God precisely just 3 months after his 81st birthday :”
Dear Grandpa, how do I miss leaning on your shoulder…

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