Sunday, January 18, 2009


My great grandmother was old. 92 years old.
Visiting great grandmother in the hospital back in August, 08. I think I have her nose. Maybe this is what I'll look like in 70 years. 

She passed away this morning. I was informed by my mom, through a text message, while I was in the bathroom removing the make up from my face. It was raining cats and dogs outside. The news came as, sort of expected, yet mildly saddening. The text message read, "My grandma passed away just now. I am going back to Sibu directly from work." 

My great grandma and I had only talked for like 5 times. I only got to see her during the Chinese New Year every year as I was growing up. I have no memory of her in my childhood life. I remember when I first saw her she was already 80 something years old. My sister and I would ask her so many questions about her family and ancestors in China. She was too old to remember everything, even her own age. I remember her most for her strength (carrying stacks of chairs and farming in the countryside in her 80s) and her faith in Jesus Christ (though an illiterate, she knew and could recite most of the verses in the New Testament). 

She is a very special woman in my life, though we weren't the closest family members. I know a lot of her choices and the things she taught my mother have a strong influence in my life. I don't know enough of her to write a book about her and her life, but I know she has definitely written a chapter or two in the book of my life. 

I imagined what it was like to die of old age. Do you just feel so tired that you eyelids refuse to open? Do you fight to stay awake, but in vain?  Then, I texted my mom back. How did she die? When do I go back for the funeral? Can we still celebrate Chinese New Year? 

I have never been to a funeral. It sounds scary. It sounds really sad. It sounds like there might be a lot of wailing and sniffing and vomitting (I don't know why I feel like this could be happening...perhaps to me). What do I need to wear? Is red color okay?? Or am I only allowed to wear white? Is it going to rain, like in some of the American movies? The only thing I am sure of is I am happy that great grandma will rest in peace. 

I wonder if my family can still celebrate Chinese New Year. Usually, when death in the family happens, the family will not celebrate Chinese New Year for at least a year. I wonder if there's an exception for if the family member who dies was old.

Life has so many uncertainties and surprises. I am grateful to know that the life on earth is but a spec compare to eternity. I am grateful for the knowledge that death is but a beginning of a new life and a step closer to be with God. 

Granny, see you when my time on earth is up. 



LiafromLaie said...

Death is always a time of reflection. I never look upon it as sadness since I have a testimony that we'll see those individuals we have lost, but it does help me to think on times that were spent with the loved one. I know here in Hawaii white is usually worn at a funeral.

Ivy TIng said...

seeing picture of her make me sad. I so wish i could be there for her funeral. I'm glad you told me she is happy to go to a happier place because that help me to be strong.