For the past couple of years my Koro has been in and out of hospital countless times. And almost every single time we are told that he’s at the end. Then miraculously he is on the upward spiral and heading back home. This has been his life for the past I-don’t-know-how-many years. And last Thursday the same thing happened. Except this time he really didn’t make it and I’m sure it was at his relief. Now he is relieved from his illnesses and pains.
In the last two years my relationship with my Koro has strengthened. Last year while we visited him in hospital he was telling us some stories and I realized that I didn’t actually know my Koro very well at all and I learned that he had some really cool stories to share. I knew that his grandchildren needed to hear them but we didn’t know how long he would stick around for. So over the following few months Bryton and I would visit him and basically interview him. We recorded him sharing about his life with the intention to create a book about his history. Part way through our chats Bryton and I went to the States for 6 weeks and by the time we got back life got hectic and we didn’t have the time to do that as often. Regretfully, we didn’t get to finish. The last thing we have recorded was him telling us about his children.
I treasure those visits we had with him. Sometimes we would spend so long at the hospital that we would go past visiting hours and be asked to leave by the nurses. That is time spent with him that I will never regret. I am so grateful that I made the conscious decision to tell my Koro I love him every time I said goodbye. In his condition, I could never be sure if that would be the last time I would see him. I wish he had lived long enough for his first great-grandchild to meet him. It will only be another 6 weeks until she is here. But it is obvious that he was needed on the other side. He had completed his work here.
There are some things I want my little girl to know about her Koro:
- He loved the gospel.
- He loved his family. The gospel and his family were the two most important things to him. He wanted the best for his children and everything he did was for them.
- The Maori culture was important to him.
- Family history was top priority.
- He and Bryton had lots in common. They both took an interest in politics and art. Koro wanted to do architecture and Bryton started studying architecture. They are both skilled in computers. Education is important to them. AND they both like talking about themselves (hehe).
- He liked food. A lot.
- He was very organised and tidy.
- He had the fluffiest white hair.
- Even through his sicknesses, he always had time for his mokos. Always.
I remember at his 50th birthday the family made my newest Uncle Harris kiss his “toe”.
I remember going to his house when we were little and it would stink of rotten corn.
I remember eating the guavas off the tree at the back of his house.
I remember him always shaking his leg.
I remember him making the best Pavlova’s and steam pudding.
I remember seeing him smile at my wedding.
I remember his excitement when we told him his was going to be a great-grandfather for the first time.
I’m grateful for my Koro. Because of him I’m a part of a strong family. I’m so proud to carry on his legacy. I thought I would be okay with him not being here. But I find myself thinking about him a lot now. I actually miss him and I miss the fact that I won’t be able to just visit him any more. There are so many things I wish I had said or done more but I don’t want to live the rest of my life worrying about my regrets. So this is a lesson to me. Appreciate those around you. Never hold back a compliment. Be positive and kind. Spend time with those who matter most.
My Koro, I hope you’re not disappointed in me. Thank you for loving my parents. Thank you for loving my husband and I. I miss you already. I look forward to our sweet reunion.
Love you, My Koro.