"Bye grandpa! I'll see you next year!"
Growing up in a different country, I had been away most of my life. My family would return every summer, and visit our grandparents for some time. My grandmother would always say, “Don’t bother come! It’s hot here!” which was her way of greeting us. My grandfather would focus on his daily routines regardless of our presence. When we left, we would tell them that we'd be back again real soon! Two weeks before coming to the U.S. this time, I visited them again who were now in their late eighties. Our visit this time, however, grandma didn’t say her typical line. When we got there, grandpa was in bed after his hospital checkup, and grandma greeted us with an arm sling on. They were much weaker now, but there were still things we could do for them like cooking, cleaning, and even just sitting by their side and talking to them. Then it was the last day of our visit, and it was time to say goodbye. This time, it was not clear whether I could return early enough to see my grandfather one more time. With his shivering legs, he walked out to the living room to say goodbye. At that moment, the words “will be back soon” could not come out of my mouth. I had to accept the fact that today could be the last, and all I could do was hope for him to be there until the day I return. It wasn't spoken, but I promised to be back for him, and I felt his promise that he would still be there for me.
Recently, my dad asked me a favor. He sent me some old pictures of my grandfather from fifteen years ago. My grandpa hated taking pictures, so these are the best ones we had. The favor was that I photoshop his picture for the funeral. His day was nearing an end. The way he looked at me last summer, the way his wrinkles folded when he smiled, I want to remember all of that.