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Home thoughts after eight years in Beijing

Updated: 2014-07-25 16:53
By Erik Nilsson ( China Daily)

Home thoughts after eight years in Beijing
Iowa expat finds China connection
Home thoughts after eight years in Beijing
Excuse me, while I check my phone
But I'm still wracked with guilt about the moment I left.

He didn't want me to go — but didn't push.

We knew it was our last time.

Yet I realized if I spent every moment of my life with the people I love, it would still never be enough.

There had to be a cut-off point. A final goodbye.

And it would hurt. It still does.

I thought about all the Christmases, Thanksgivings and Easters we didn't spend together because I was in China.

I'm returning to the US this summer to see my other grandparents. And, without having directly said so, we all know it will almost certainly be the last time.

I also realize I've progressively neglected the lesson I learned from losing my other grandmother. I’ve been calling less and less as I get busier and busier.

That also goes for my parents, who have health issues. It seems as though they're aging faster every year.

Now that I have a daughter — their only grandchild, and pride and joy — it gets harder to think about the holidays and other days we're missing.

We're here. They're there.

Noon is midnight, and vice versa, for one of us.

But the entire family has supported our decision to stay.