Opinion: I wish I could spend quality time with my grandparents


My late paternal grandfather and I pose on a monument during a road trip to Missouri in 2014.

When eating with a friend on a Saturday afternoon at the Stonebriar mall food court, there was a sight that unburied a thought within my mind — my grandparents. 

The sight was an elderly lady, two tables to the left of where I was sitting, eating her meal alone. Her lip quivered as she fed herself, only able to bite pieces of the chicken one at a time off of her fork. She periodically looked around the court, seeming lost and overwhelmed by the loud, moving and thriving environment. Through the noise of my friend’s chewing and the chattering of other people, I tunnel-visioned on her and melancholy struck me.

Why was she alone? 

How did she get there? 

Who would take her home? 

I asked myself countless questions and even considered walking up to her to give any comfort or reassurance I could. Then, my own grandparents entered my mind, with respective images of them eating alone, isolated from everyone. My mood became even more somber as I realized I couldn’t approach my own grandparents like I could this elderly lady. 

Both of my grandfathers on either side of my parents’ families passed away years ago, one before I was born and the other in 2016. Both grandmothers now are a long way from Dallas, one in Vietnam and the other in Houston.

However, the realization of wanting more time with my grandparents didn’t occur to me until recently. What bothers me is that when I was traveling to them or when they visited, I didn’t have the emotional maturity to make the effort to spend quality time with them. Instead, I got temporarily excited and then quickly took them for granted during the rest of the time. 

Seeing these other elderly people alone and left to their own devices is depressing because maybe they also don’t have memories or quality time with their own grandchildren. Inferring that could be a stretch, but many people and friends I know followed the same path as I did, not realizing it could be too late when they wanted to become close to their grandparents. 

Hopefully, with plenty of time left and opportunities to see both of my grandmothers in the future, I’ll make sure to cherish each second with them from here on out.