My Grandfather Passed Away

How I realized any meeting with somebody could be the last

James Nguyen
Sep 5 · 3 min read
Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

Last year, my grandfather passed away.

And I was not there when he did.

I was 11000 kilometers away. Half the globe.

When I heard from my mother that my grandfather is breathing his last in the hospital, I felt completely powerless. Partly because I cannot afford a flight ticket home because I was studying abroad and have only enough to survive. But mostly because even if I was able to fly home, I wouldn’t able to make it in time to come home to say goodbye to him.

5 months before my grandfather passed away, I was at his place visiting him. He was not totally healthy, but he was fine. He laughed at our jokes, watched soccer while cheering for his favorite team Chelsea, enjoyed dinner with a beer like he had always done. We took plenty of photos, of him, of me, of his children and grandchildren, of us. Little did I know those were the last photos we had together with him.

Never did I know that was the last time I got to be with him.

I cried so much from I heard words from my mother thought Skype that my grandfather passed away. My heart skipped a beat. It was 3 p.m and I was working in my office. I couldn’t feel myself. I trembled and lost my sense of surroundings for a moment. The only thing that kept me bursting into tears is knowing that he died painlessly. I just run home right then from work. I was so close to losing consciousness. It was the first time I lost someone who I held dears.

I could feel my mother’s grieves from her voice. The grief of someone who had just have to say goodbye to her father. My mother did not cry. She remained strong. Or appeared to be. She wanted to be strong for my grandmother’s sake — the one who collapsed, who would have to spend the rest of her life without her love. Deep down, I know, my mother was the one who was in the greatest pain.

The pain struck me hardly also. I cried my eyes out that evening, and can barely hold myself together to continue works. What else could I do? I could not go home. I could only cry and grief. I cried because of the pain of losing a family member had been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I cried even harder when I realized that he would not be the only one I lost, and I do not know who will be next. I do not want to know.

Life is full of uncertainties. You never know if a meeting with someone would be the last time you were with them. Only when you have lost someone, will you regret not spending enough time with them.


Live your life so you will not have to regret.

Spend as much time as you can with those you held dears.

Enjoy their companies as much as if it is your last time with them.

Let them know they are special. Let them know you appreciate having them in your life, and that they are the ones who made you a better person. Let them know you love them.

Let them know you will remember them.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

James Nguyen

Written by

A programmer who likes to write both code and blogs

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

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