For as long as I could remember Papa always had the habit of writing random words on scrap paper when he was watching TV. I figured he was practicing calligraphy since that was his hobby. I never noticed the words being lined up so closely together and having so many repeated words though. Some people believe handwriting can reflect mental states. What does this mean?

It was natural as a child to know that your grandparents were old and had aches and pains like other old people. But it was disconcerting when I left my home country for 8 years and returned home only to attend my paternal grandfather’s funeral. And it was surreal when I read on the bedroom wall the schedule written for the caretaker:

9:30 am turn to right
9:45 am turn to left
10:00 am turn to right, check [fecal bag]
10:15 am turn to left

He was old when I left, but he was healthy then. I think I was afraid to go home when he was terminally ill. Or maybe I was too immature to believe he was that sick.

Maybe I’m immature still. I’m scared when I watch my father shut down like his father. I’m scared when I remember that two of his sisters have already passed away. I forget sometimes that he’s diabetic now. I still expect him to squash house bugs for me when my husband is not around.

For my daughter M though, he’s just A-Gong (Grandpa) – just like the image of my grandfather imprinted on my mind.


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