Absolutely and Utterly Exhausted

[Dutch Lock Down Day One Hundred Fifty Six]

Today I streamed and it went really well.

Even better than expected.

But then, well, I met with my life coach.

And she asked how I was doing.

And I admitted that my father’s mother died.

But first the news:

My mother’s mother died last year. I was closer to her – I named my daughter after her. When I found out she was in hospice, I grabbed my daughter and flew to her bedside to say good bye.

Not this time.

Four days ago I got an email from my dad, “Sorry to let you know that your grandmother passed away. She was asleep. At 93-years old she had a long and interesting life. Love you, Dad”

That was it.

Setting aside that the message was just a few lines and how it might indicate the health of our relationship and how distraught he is, I met my father’s mother once.


I remember I was surprised at how little and feisty she was. I spoke only the most basic Japanese with her and I was so embarrassed at my grasp of her native tongue. She baked me a blueberry pie – made the crust from scratch – and with berries picked from her own backyard. It was pure heaven. And ask she baked, I watched and so many of my dad’s mannerisms made sense – they both composted as they cooked. They both used a rubber spoon to get absolutely every single drop of the batter into the baking dish. They both focused utterly on the task at hand and everything else disappeared.

I was fascinated.

And that’s still how I bake.

I grew up without my dad or any of my dad’s family. And only met his father, his mother, and his sister once. His brother didn’t want to meet. Never developed my relationship with them beyond that first meeting because I didn’t want them to think I wanted something from them. But also because I didn’t know how to keep in touch.

It’s something I never figured out.

That I still suck at.

When I got the email, I looked up at P and said, “My grandma died. My other grandma.”

“Are you okay?”

“I… yeah. I didn’t know her well? I met her once.”

And then I forgot about it.

And then I remembered. And forgot. And remembered and forgot.

Until today.

My life coach asked me how I was doing and I started to be shallow – stick to the easy stuff. The project updates.

And then I remembered my grandma died.

And it’s a safe space, so I brought it up.

Photo by Zhu Liang on Unsplash

I keep wondering if how I’m feeling is normal. And today I realized there is no normal. Frankly, there’s no normal EVER. Any feeling felt when someone dies – those are fine. It’s ALL acceptable. And that I’m forgetting? And then remembering again? That’s totally normal.

And that I feel… weird… because I only met her once… and there’s all these thoughts about what could’ve been, what might’ve been, what IF… that’s all normal. Rather, it’s not that it’s normal or weird or other judgement, but that it’s all FINE.

I’m having trouble expressing all this.

I’m going to sleep and maybe it’ll come out closer to how I feel tomorrow.

And whether or not it does, is totally okay.






2 responses to “Absolutely and Utterly Exhausted”

  1. […] And it’s getting me through this particularly rough time. […]

  2. […] Also, my dad and I had a video conference yesterday afternoon so he could see the twins for the first time ever (I’m a terrible daughter) and we could catch up a bit and maybe talk about obachan. […]