It's a bit difficult to write this post but it's also funny how God and time works... Exactly a year ago today, my grandpa passed away. I never got to see my grandpa in his last few years of his life and his passing was really hard on me so I haven't been able to do any formal "dedication".
Today's Friday Favorites is dedicated to none other than my "favorite" family member, Grandpa Kim.
I went back and forth, trying to figure out what about Grandpa Kim I wanted to share with y'all on today's post. I also didn't want this post to be a tear-jerker because I want to celebrate his life and how much joy he brought into my life. So I share with you, my top 5 favorite memories and things about Grandpa Kim.
1. A Man of Very Few Words
He was soft spoken and did not have much to say. I remember growing up, he was always quiet and just enjoyed sitting in his room reading the newspaper. Whenever I was bored, I'd go into his room and ask to tell me a story. Without a fail, he would tell me the same story time after time, year after year. But you know what, I never complained. I never interrupted, and I never questioned it. Because I loved that he told the story with so much life each and every time. I miss hearing this story and it's not the same when told by others...
2. No Need for Lazy Susan
Have you ever been to those Chinese restaurants where you put all the side dishes and family meal plates in the middle and whenever you want a certain item, you turn the lazy susan to get it? Well, my family had a running joke that we never needed one in the Kim household. That's because if Grandpa Kim was sitting at the table, it was for certain, without a doubt, he would move whatever dish it is that you are trying to reach... for everyone. Other family members might have gotten a bit annoyed with the constant moving dishes. I, however, loved it. I took it as a quiet, soft spoken way of my grandpa showing us love.
3. Hats & Cliff-head
Grandpa Kim was a hat collector. He didn't have much in his collection, but every time he walked by a hat stand in the subway shopping area, he'd take a peek and see if he liked any of them. When I received hats from work, my grandpa would ask me what it said and would rock them so proudly. He has rocked my Coldstone Creamery visor, a cap from James Madison University, and also my first LAUSD position staff cap. He'd ask me to say the English words over and over so that he can tell all of his senior center friends that his granddaughter got him a __________ hat!
I'm not sure if this was also his way of trying to hide his flat head- because he had the flattest head I've ever seen in my life (and I say that in the most loving way possible). It was so flat that I'd say his head was a cliff- from the top to the base of his head/neck. When he sat on the floor (so that I can sit on the couch), I'd run my fingers on his head and pretend to go cliff-diving. Thinking back, it's pretty offensive but Grandpa Kim never complained or scolded me. We had fun playing like that.
4. Piggyback Rides
What Korean child did not like getting piggy back rides growing up? We were all practically raised on our parents/grandparents' backs, right? Well, I happen to love receiving piggyback rides from my grandpa the best. Whenever he came to pick me up from daycare and kindergarten, I was sure to hop on my grandpa's back to the subway/bus station. If we had to cross a bridge (my biggest phobia), I made sure I hung onto my grandpa so that if I drown, I drown with him. Looking back, I don't know how he did it- all those years and trips. I was a big, chubby, well fed kid. But he never complained about carrying me on his back. I remember when my brother and I got older, we thought we were macho man/woman if we're able to give our parents/grandparents piggyback rides. My grandpa always complained that he was too heavy for us to give piggyback rides and wouldn't let us... if only I could give him one more piggyback ride...
5. Last Time With Grandpa Kim
The last time I ever got to see my grandpa was when he came to the States for my wedding. I had wished to get married in the spring but my parents worried that my grandpa might not make it til then. I said, that's nonsense- He won't pass before my wedding, even if he bad legs and knee problems, he's invincible! Well, the thought of not having him at one of my biggest milestones in life was a scary thought so we got married in the late fall of 2012, instead of spring 2013. During our paebaek (Korean wedding tradition), he threw a handful of dates and told Han and I to have many babies. Grandpa, I'm pregnant again! Here's baby #2!
I wish I had seen him one more time, after my wedding. I wish I flew to Korea last June/July to see my grandpa one last time. But I'm not sure how I would've taken it- physically seeing him dying. I know he passed away in his sleep, in peace- which I'm grateful for.
Time heals and I'm comforted now, knowing that he is resting well in heaven.
May you continue to rest in peace, Grandpa Kim.