Friday, June 20, 2014

Appreciate the Time We Have

Just before we left on this trip to Israel, my family found out that we just lost my great-grandmother. She was the eldest living person in my father's side of the family.

While I didn't get to spend a lot of time with her (since she lived in South Korea), I was lucky enough to have met her once in 2012 when I was about 10 months old.

Not to toot my own horn, but I was her first (and only) great grandchild, so it was kind of a big deal for both of us. That same night, while we were all sitting around, I decided to show my appreciation by taking my very first steps with my great-grandmother watching. Needless to say, people were quite excited that evening.

That same 2012 trip to South Korea, I also saw my other paternal great-grandmother. From the first moment, she and I hit it off immediately like kindred spirits.

But unfortunately, she passed last year as well after a long and colorful life included getting separated from her husband and children when the Korean War broke out and then finding a way to sneak down to South Korea with my infant grandfather in her arms.

Since my parents' relatives are each from halfway around the world in either direction, we're going to have to fly a lot to see the extended members of the family. Despite the long international flights, the time zone differences and other hassles of traveling, we're going to continue making it a priority each and every year, because you never know when it will be the last time you see someone.

And fortunately, I'm here in Israel for another few days so I can enjoy my time with my last remaining great-grandparent. She was eldest of 4 children orphaned during the Holocaust.

Somehow, by the grace of God, she and her siblings survived, grew up and each started families of their own. Hardship and tragedy followed some of them, but they didn't complain and continued onward. Today, my great-grandmother is a proud reminder that the will to live starts at a young age and continues on through the twilight of your life.

She's known me since I was just 4 months old, and I'm just thankful I've been able to see her at least once a year.

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