April 26, 2003

Dilemmas for dawdlers

My grandfather is on his deathbed – or so my mothers says. Of course she told me the same thing last week or rather, the week before. So what has this got to do with anything? Well, it’s got to do with a war of principles. My mother wants me to go see my grandfather before he passes away. Now normally, I would have no problem with this except for the fact that there is some hypocrisy involved here. My grandfather is not exactly the nicest of men – he believed that money ruled everything and spent his life in the pursuit of money, he tried to control his family by way of his wealth and even during the last few years, while he was bed-ridden, one of his chief topics of conversation was money – who made how much and so on.

Now I won’t try to judge him, he is entitled to live his life his own way – as we all should be able to do. He did what he did and I have no problems with that nor do I hate him. In fact, I’ve gone to see him during the last few years whenever I could when my brother and my father wouldn’t for their own reasons – I have no idea what the reasons are, I never asked them since I figured that their reasons were their own, who am I to question them? My mother did visit him from time to time while he was sick but I don’t know how many of her sisters did or how many of my cousins did. However, now that he’s on his deathbed (or at least seriously ill …) I suddenly get asked (or rather, *almost* told …) by mother to go see him. Again, I can’t say for certain that *is* the reason – but it smacks to me as if trying to make me conform with what’s *expected*. Here, everybody gathers at somebody’s deathbed when they are near death because otherwise "people" would think that they abandoned their relatives and didn’t care for them.

This to me is total hypocrisy! If you don’t care enough to see somebody and to talk to them and to be with them while they are alive, why would you suddenly change your actions when they are dead or ready to die? I don’t agree with that sort of action and will actively change my behaviour to not do that sort of thing. If my grandfather wanted to see me, I guess I would go but I know he couldn’t care less. Plus, "seeing him one last time before he dies" makes no sense to me – I’d rather remember him as he was in his prime – shouting, laughing, being who he was, rather than the way he is now – bed-ridden and in pain. Am I just justifying my own refusal to be at my grandfather’s side when he’s passing away? Maybe I am – I can’t say for certainty that I’m not making excuses – in fact, this is what I’ll probably be told by my parents and others – that I’m merely making excuses. But to me, I’m doing what I think is right.

In the end, this is all any of us can do – be true to ourselves since we cannot please all the people in the world anyway. My two cardinal rules are: be true to yourself and don’t hurt others if you can help it. In this case, I think I am abiding by those as far as I can though I am not so sure that I might not be hurting my parents by my actions … Ah well … nothing is ever easy, is it?