My grandmother passed on the evening of May 1, 2015. She was an amazing lady who raised 11 children and played a pivotal role in her grand children’s lives. She always treated us with such gentleness and happiness. When my brother was born, my grandma and grandpa lived with us for a while, and after that we would visit them in Vancouver every summer. I still remember the bike rides she took me on on the little path that went nowhere in the field beside our house. I still remember the walks to the playground near her house on warm Vancouver days. For the past decade she struggled with Alzheimer’s disease. Each time I saw her was bitter sweet because I missed her warmth and her smiles. I missed her sweet dumplings and how she always tried to teach me simple words in Hakka. But at the same time my heart warmed as her eyes followed me with recognition or she looked upon Addison with awe. Now that she has passed away I take comfort in the fact that she is now at peace, but I miss her terribly. She passed away peacefully surrounded by the family who loved and admired her, and others like me who are in saddened because they couldn’t be there.
I am blessed that I was able to have my grandparents for 30 years. They enriched my life in ways I will never be able to pin point but also will always remember. It is a joy to watch my girls with their grandparents. As my grandmother was moved to hospice, my dad left us to spend time with his mom. Not a day goes by that Addison does not ask where her gong gong is or why we aren’t having rice for dinner. Yesterday Mark’s mom came in from New Zealand and Addison has been talking up a storm, showing Nan Deb her room, her books, anything that she can point out. Although they are still young, I am so thankful my kids get to have a relationship with their grandparents. Their lives will be just as enriched as mine was.
In Chinese culture it is not unusual that three generations of a family all live together. And although I am undecided on whether I would choose to live permanently with my parents, I can see the benefits that it brings to all three generations. Remembering my childhood with my grandparents and then seeing my children interact with theirs makes me appreciate these relationships that much more.