Good-Bye, Grandma

It is 4:00am and I’m sitting here, inside Brianne’s bedroom in Hong Kong, unable to sleep. Yes, a bit jet lagged, but mainly reminiscing about my grandma, who passed away 6 days ago.

Grandma had a bad fall in 2010, which resulted in a stroke and a near death experience. She spent months at the hospital, and eventually pulled through to a point where she was able to go home, even though it marked her immobility for the rest of her life. My mom, the most dutiful and loving daughter any mother can ever hope for, immediately quit her job in S.F., and moved back to Hong Kong. She devoted every ounce of energy for the next four years caring for grandma and spending time with her.

A few weeks ago, grandma caught a cold that progressed into pneumonia, sending her back into the hospital. Once in the hospital, her condition worsened and became more complex day after day, until God decided it was time for her to be with him. She died on Tuesday, July 1, 2014,  with my mom and her youngest son by her bedside. I wish I can say she died peacefully, but she didn’t. She died struggling and suffering immensely. But…God has His plans for all of us, and I am comforted to know she is now in heaven, free of pain and sadness.

When I arrived to Hong Kong yesterday, I spent a good portion of the afternoon going through grandma’s photos with my mom and her family. It was like going back in time to understand my grandma’s story. She is undoubtedly one of the strongest, most resilient woman I’ve ever met, which explains her relentless will to live…up until her last breath. She self-taught herself how to read and write, brought up six children by herself while her husband worked 364 days out of the year, and traveled alone to foreign countries even in her seventies. Nothing scared her, and she dedicated her life to raising and protecting her children, very much like a fierce, fearless mama bear.

When I was young, my grandma would stay with us for long periods of time, babysitting Mimi and I while our parents were at work. I’ve always had a fun-loving relationship with her, and called her often by her nickname in Chinese, “Siu Yuk”. Every time I called her that, she would laughingly scold me for being disrespectful. We had our fair share of arguments when she became too nagging, but my grandma never held grudges when it came to her family. She also made the most delicious home cooked meals, talked more than anyone I’ve ever known, and taught Mimi and I a lot about tenacity. Though on the exterior, she was the most petite little Asian woman with bounded feet, she really was amazingly fearless!

Today is her funeral, and she will be cremated tomorrow. It will be two of the most difficult days for my family, but I’m comforted that we are here together.

“Siu Yuk”, I will always remember your laughs! We love you forever!! ❤️❤️❤️

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