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Long distance love

Laosian decor

I was touched deeply yesterday when my husband’s father who recently made a trip to Laos to see his family there gave each of us a gift from his trip. The gifts weren’t really what touched me but the giving itself. He is a very loving and thoughtful man. Sometimes, he drives me crazy but I love him. I love both of my inlaws very much.

They are loving parents and wonderful grandparents.

The picture above is of one of the symbols of Laos (and many Asian countries), a white elephant. It’s a handmade decoration that my father-in-law brought back with him for my husband and I. If you would like to see it in greater detail click on the image and then the all sizes button at the top. It’s just beautiful. I will hang it on our livingroom wall. As I have told you before our family is not just French and American. It is, also, Laosian and Czech.

What really got me to thinking was the fact that my husband’s grandmother hasn’t seen my husband since he was a teenager. That was the first and the last time she saw him since he left Laos at four years old to move to France. Can you imagine seeing your grandson before he moves to France as a small child and the next time you see him he is towering over you in height and a teenager?

My husband’s grandfather died about six or seven years ago. The last time he saw him was when both his grandparents made a trip from Laos to France when he was in his teens. Even though my husband didn’t know his grandfather very well it upset him greatly to find out he had died. I was at work, in America, and felt he needed me so I called him, in France, using a calling card from the breakroom at lunch. I didn’t know his grandfather had died but I knew somehow he needed me. It was heartbreaking.

I know my husband’s grandmother would be happy to see her grandson and great-grandchildren. It breaks my heart all over again each time that I allow myself to think that she will never hold them or hear their laughter.

She is a mother that has only seen her son (my father-in-law) a handfull of times since he left Laos to move his family to France over thirty years ago. I wonder if I will someday be faced with a similiar reality?

She is over eighty years old and I would give anything for her to be able to see my husband and our children. I can’t imagine how she must feel to live in Laos with a large piece of her heart here in France.

She was very happy to see pictures of our family that I had uploaded onto my personal Flickr account. I dream that someday she will see my husband and our children for real. However, I know it is just a dream.

It makes me sad.

It, also, makes me understand that I have done the same by taking my own children from their American grandparents. However, if we had stayed in America the kids would have been away from their French grandparents. It is a no win situation. We just have to make the best of it with phone calls and webcams. Long distance love is really still as strong.

My children know and love both of my parents. They haven’t seen my mother for over two years and my father since almost one year ago, but they talk about both of them all the time. My children love their grandparents in America as much as their grandparents in France.

When I see it in my own children, I understand even more how upset my husband must have been the day he found out his grandfather in Laos had died. He was upset for the loss of his grandfathers life and perhaps the loss of all the time they weren’t together.

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. Love still stands when all else has fallen.

Websites about Laos:

Wikipedia

Wikitravel

Flickr (Lao group photos)

Flickr (most interesting photos of Laos)

Recent photos of Laos

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • kim May 8, 2006, 4:50 pm

    I must get a special award for commenting so often first, huh? ;) we must be on the same wavelength, where you post and I look:) and voila! get to comment first!

    What a lovely post, my granparents were in germany while I was growing up, and my grandma was in OHIO, I saw her a little more than the german oma and opa, but I loved them all the same, somehow you are connected to your relatives even if you don’t see them! Through stories, pictures, etc…

    I loved this post:)
    and I better hit post soon or someone will beat me to the first comment spot!!!!! :O

  • carra May 8, 2006, 11:52 pm

    I understand how your husband felt about grandfathers death. Few months ago my great uncle (my grandfather’s sister’s husband) that I was very close with died. No one told me I discovered a week later! No one told me he was ill, I would’ve gone to see him alive. It’s when we loose someone dear and not neccesserily very close that we start thinking of all that time we DIDN’T spend together. It’s awful even though with modern technology it should be easier it isn’t. Lovely post it really touched me – personally.

  • mothergoosemouse May 9, 2006, 12:42 am

    Absolutely beautiful. I’m partial to Asian art – grew up with a lot of it. And I really want to see Asia – not just Japan and China and Hong Kong, but SE Asia as well.

    Interesting links too. Is it considered dangerous to travel to Laos with children? Or is it simply impractical for you and your family to visit?

  • Pumpkin May 9, 2006, 7:28 am

    My husband tells me that it is safe to travel there. I worried about me going because I’m American. However, he tells me that many Americans travel there to visit. It isn’t really dangerous unless you go out into the countryside and then from what I understand it can be. Laos is still pretty closed and communist.

    The reason we don’t go or even just he and the children is the cost. It is very expensive to travel there. The long flight would be the second reason. It took my father-in-law 15 hours to get there. However, I would still send the kids and my husband if it were ever possible.

  • Pumpkin May 9, 2006, 7:30 am

    Kim, thank you for assuring me that my children will know my parents and love them. I know it but it helps that you have been through the same thing and you still felt close to them.

    Carra, that is sad that they didn’t tell you. I can understand why you were upset.

  • carra May 9, 2006, 4:33 pm

    Well I am sure that your children will know your parents, it’s just a question of time. You’ll see. (In other words I agree with Kim!)

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