I’ve been back from India for a little over five weeks now. While it seems like a lot longer than that, I still think on my days in the villages (that includes Ongole) like they were just a few days ago. The Kansas heat has been killer – triple digits for what has seemed like forever, and into the foreseeable future (though not as humid as India, thank goodness!).
I’m at a point now where my heart is a little torn. I miss my time in India – the children, living with Sean, Paige, and Courtney, the new experiences I got to have, the pure bliss of a cold Diet Coke, and I even caught myself missing wearing a sari the other day.
However, as I think back on the things that I would have missed had I been in India for the last five weeks, I instantly turn grateful that I came home when I did.
The big one? The only grandpa I ever knew (my mom’s dad died when she was pretty young), the grandpa who taught me how to drive, took me on my first “dates” (to the animal farm, Dairy Queen, and probably Wal Mart, I’m sure), checked himself out of the hospital when I had a school play in first grade then went right back and readmitted himself, the grandpa who was my biggest fan, died last week.
Grandpa had been fighting emphysema for as long as I can remember. He’d been on oxygen off and on for over ten years, and in and out of the hospital every several months or so. He’d always bounced most of the way back, but when he went into the hospital just a week after I returned from India, we all knew that something was different this time.
Watching him progressively get worse and worse, hearing the doctors say that he would never go home, being called up so he could tell us goodbye, him drifting in and out of conciousness…none of these things were easy. But I am so grateful that I could be here for the three weeks he was in the hospital (a very taxing time for my family as my parents were at the hospital virtually around the clock some days) and when he requested that my siblings and I come up for the last time so he could tell us goodbye.
I am thankful that I was here to be of assistance for the days between his death and the funeral. I’m grateful for the chance to spend time with the family from out of town who came in to celebrate his life with us. I’m thankful that I wasn’t faced with the decision from a foreign country of whether or not to pack up and come home when he started getting so sick.
In addition to spending this last time with my grandpa, I’m also so grateful for the time that I’ve gotten to spend with friends. For getting to be a part of the wedding of my dear, sweet friends Kaleb and Kaedra. For getting to jump back in at the coffee shop and be a part of that on a daily basis again.
Another big change is that I am officially in-move to my first apartment of my own. I’ve lived out of the house when I was living on campus at Sterling, but I was home every weekend and this will be an entirely new adventure for me. I hope to be officially “in” mostly tomorrow or by the end of the weekend for sure.
When I think back on this summer, it has already been full of an incredible amount of changes. Little did I know what the life-changing month in India would be the beginning of. It’s been a rough summer, to be honest. However, in the midst of all the trials and bumps, there has been plenty of joy mixed in as well and for those moments I am eternally grateful.
(However, when I get pictures with faces like these – all these reasons that I’m grateful to be back in the states fly out the window and I long to be back in India cuddling with these kiddos!)