Gold Pot

August 2, 2008
By Grace Lee, Bayside, NY

My grandmother would always call me "gold pot" whatever chance she gets, even in public. Usually, I would run away with my face bright red and pretend that she's a stranger I coincidentally bumped into. But, embarrassing moments like these were what made up my grandmother, a person who never thought hard about how to express love.

We're nearly seventy years apart, yet she is the only person I am able to turn to for genuine aid and counseling. She would provide everything my parents were unable to and fill me in with superfluous love. When my parents would bluntly express their disappointment with my final semester grades, my grandmother would merrily sing of relief that my stressful school year is finally over. She would raise me up in a higher pedestal and give a confidence boost whenever I encountered a failure or a conflict.

Through her, I was able to see a life beyond school, friends and materials that I'm usually trapped in every day. Sometimes our brief phone conversations would be the only thing I would remember that night and everything else would seem like a huge blur. She taught me religion, life lessons, cultural folktales and many health advices which she's an expert at. However, the most significant change she's brought upon me was love. I learned how to give back love by watching her love me.

Each morning, she would pray for my well-being and reread the Valentine's Day card I've written to her the previous year. She claims to still have the card I made out of construction paper in the first grade. Sometimes she would make me feel guilty, almost spoiled. That's when I realized that love must go both ways, not just me seeking her whenever I needed to. I definitely sense a substantial level of maturity in myself as I've begun to practice what I've learned from her.

Recently, she was sent to the hospital due to her severe pain occurring even more harshly after surgery. Actually, ten years ago her back surgery was performed poorly by a rather inexperienced surgeon. Until this day, she suffers the post-surgery effects helplessly. She's not able to have surgery again at such an old age due to the dangerous level of side effects.

While she was at the hospital, I thought a lot about the many years we spent together. All I wanted was for her to be happy. She'd always be happy if I was happy. I also realized that I'll never be able to pay her back for all that she'd done for me because her days were obviously limited. But, whatever I'm able to do, whether it's a photograph we took together or a stuffed animal, that'll somehow provide her supernatural strength, I wanted to do.

Most importantly, I see what I'd be like seventy years later. I would be praying for my death, telling my own children I'm perfectly fine when I'm actually in pain and I would hate myself for being such a burden to so many people. Watching my grandmother living in such agony made me see the many things I have, especially my young age, a stage where I'm free to dream and make mistakes and welcomed to be a burden to my parents.

Even after she dies, I know our bond won't end. The only thing I'm afraid of is that I won't physically hear her cheering words when I encounter harder conflicts in the future.

The author's comments:
Age is just a number. Although discrimination amongst races are prevalent, discrimination at old age is common. No matter how difficult your life becomes, reflect on the amount of time you have to recover and start over. Elderly people don't have as many choices as many of us do. People of old age may be frail and burdensome, but they probably have something interesting to teach you that you've never known before.

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This article has 1 comment.

Critique said...
on Aug. 21 2008 at 2:54 pm
Overall, this was very well written and powerful. However, I don't think that you managed to convey the message in the "author's comments" very well.

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