After my grandmother passed away in December, I’ve been so emotionally drained, it took me a while to muster up the energy to write this post. I also didn’t feel right posting about anything else until I properly honored and shared about my grandmother. My grandma Helen, whom I called Popo (that’s what you call your mother’s mother in Chinese), came down with pneumonia right around Thanksgiving. For the three weeks she was in the hospital, my family and I were at her bedside, keeping her spirits up, making her comfortable and hoping with all our might that she would get better. To our devastation, her health rapidly declined until one day, she passed peacefully in her sleep. My mom, aunt and uncle were all by her side when it happened. After a month of stressful sleepless nights and keeping a 24-hour vigil with 25 family members, I came home and cried myself to sleep in Chris’ arms.
Popo’s love was pure and genuine. What was most important to her was just to be around us, she didn’t care what we were doing. It was the little things that made her happy and she was so proud of every single one of us. She spoke Cantonese and very little English so for my whole life, our communication was limited, but we showed our love in other, non-verbal ways. Every time I saw or visited her, I automatically felt comforted and loved. She gave the purest love human beings can receive. Boy do I regret not visiting her more often – if I could go back, I would visit her everyday. She loved to go out, get dinner, go shopping, see new things. She loved dogs and babies and would clap in delight and pure joy when they were around her. One of my favorite things about her was how she took immaculate care of her skin. She had a strict nightly skincare routine and used the same Elizabeth Arden moisturizer for 40 years. When she would come visit, I would sit and talk to her while she went through the routine, using her silver antique handheld mirror and never skipping a step. When we would go to the mall, people would stop us to ask what her secret was for looking so young. I was always so proud of that. That was who she was to me, perfect, beautiful delicate in every way.
I got to keep a few of her things after she passed, a beautiful red coat and a traditional Chinese dress. But one of the most special things we found, was a notecard she had written with my Chinese name and my cell number. I know it’s just a card but to think about her writing my name down, thinking about me, makes me smile. I miss her so much but knowing the amount of love she left behind in all of us, shown more prominently these days than ever, I am comforted knowing that she would be so proud.