I find myself uncharacteristically worrying about wrinkles and worry lines and buying expensive skincare products that I’ll probably need in 4 decades. It takes a while before I realize that I’m wasting this hard earned money for a little bit of control over the passage of time. I’m worrying about a distant future I can’t really affect at the moment but there are current demands I should really look to. Maybe instead of telling myself I can’t afford to fly back to LA last minute; what I can’t really afford is to not make the time to visit my Lolo while he still remembers me. So I borrow against time and fly last minute and I’m basically laughing the 5 days I’m back home because all the family and friends who are fussing over him is exactly what he wanted (and got).
And it’s amazing how well Lolo is doing and at the same time, so hard to see how much he has diminished in the last month I’ve seen him. Lolo has always been larger than life since I was a kid—in photos, in personality, in his demands and in his love for others. This week, physically he has grown so frail but still, his spirit to have others with him and his independence cannot be denied. Truly, he is the embodiment of his favorite song, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
I don’t have anything meaningful to say, I just needed to document that Lolo told me he loves me many times this week. I greeted him one morning and was really surprised to be told “Good morning sweetheart. I love you.” I come from a family where achievement and education are important to them. It feels rare to me to hear praise or be reminded that I’m loved verbally, out loud, without having to achieve some lofty goal. To be told “I love you” spontaneously means so much to me.
I’m still processing now that I’m back on the east coast. I’m surprised by how sad I feel about all of this. I flinch at using the word “dying” in colloquialisms or jokes. I find it very difficult to let others know how I feel or even what is going on. I’m not sure what my father will be like or how my relationship with my extended family will be like when Lolo passes away. It was difficult to leave, especially knowing that the next time I come back, he might not be alive but buying that last minute ticket was so worth the hassle and money. Time with Lolo is what I needed the most and what he really wants—to be surrounded by those who love and respect him.