- September 25, 2011
- Posted by: Dr. Elise Cohen Ho
- Category: Parenting & Family
It is early on a Sunday morning and I hear a song.
It is too early for a song so I think I must be dreaming.
I hear the song again and realize that the song is my husband’s ringtone. I can not quite wake up but I cannot quite sleep. My husband picks up.
I hear one of my husband’s brothers on the phone. I hear panic in his voice.
I fully wake up while my husband attempts to wrap his mind around whatever is being said to him. Then I piece together what my husband is being told. Then my husband confirms.
My Father-in-Law has passed away.
This man that gave my husband his life no longer has his.
This is the grandfather of my children. They affectionately call him “YeahYeah” which in the Cantonese dialect of Chinese means father of my father. This hurts so much.
My darling husband immediately goes into action. He is on the phone asking questions, he is gathering things.
Then he looks at me.
I say, “of course” and I start making his reservations.
He gets off the phone and tells me that he feels that he needs to go home. I say, “Of course, your mother needs you.” I ask if I shall go too. Then he says that he feels more comfortable if I stay home and take care of everything here. I don’t argue because I just want to do whatever I can to make this all easier on him. This is something that I am not succeeding at because I cannot stop crying.
We pack his clothes.
I call our eldest son to tell him we need him at home.
My husband speaks to his sister and I make phone calls canceling the plans that we had for family to visit for the day. He gets off the phone and insists that I not cancel the day’s plans because he thinks it will be good for the kids and I. The fact that he is thinking of us while his head is spinning in so many directions is quite indicative of why I fell in love with this man.
He finishes packing as our eldest arrives home.
Now comes the hardest part.
It is time to tell the kids that their grandfather has died. My oldest is much like his dad. He wants information and then the logistics of how today and the next few days will be handled.
Our middle son is next. He had seen YeahYeah the most recently. He saw him at his most sick. He immediately thinks of his grandfather’s happiness, instead of his own unhappiness. Then he advises us all that YeahYeah is now in a better and more comfortable place.
Then it is time to tell our daughter. She is devastated.Father and daughter cry together.
Then it is time for Dad to go.
Five hours after receiving the unfortunate news of my father-in-laws passing my husband is on a plane. He is flying to Texas to meet his sister. They will go together to attend to their father’s arrangements and their mother’s grief.
It is hard to watch him go. It is hard to not be with him.
I immediately wonder if I should have insisted that the children and I be on that plane, as well.