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When You Should Call Your Grandparents

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If you've read the title, the simple answer is... now.

Both of my grandfathers are the strong but silent type. One is from the modern-day capital of North Korea before the 38th parallel was drawn. The other has roots in the deep South of the Korean peninsula.

Neither are talkers.

My paternal grandfather, who chased the American dream, is alive and well for the most part. He still drives a taxi on the island of Guam.

But my other grandfather in Chinju passed away a few years ago. I missed my other grandfather's funeral in the motherland. He was the one who named me. He apparently asked how I was doing before his seemingly sudden death.

As a journalist and a generally curious person, I get the privilege of asking questions regularly. I believe everyone has a story. I haven't had a chance to sit down and record my own family's history, first-hand and in-person. It's worth doing so, for personal knowledge and to pass it down to your children and so on and so forth.

So, the other day I rang my paternal grandfather at work. With the slight language barrier and his hard hearing, it was more difficult than I imagined trying to gather tidbits about how he ended up where he is. And at his old age, he kept asking when I was coming home. I wondered if he could feel the guilt running through the imaginary phone cord.

In the end, I kept it short and as the Stevie Wonder song goes -- just told him I loved and missed him. Just because. You can't say it enough. It doesn't have to be Lunar New Year or a birthday to pick up the phone.

The next time we meet we'll have a long lunch to talk, and hopefully it won't be too late.