At 2:52 am on 29 March, your dear grannie passed away peacefully in Hoping
At about 2 am on Monday the phone rang. In the past two years I have been scared to hear phone ringing after midnight. Over the phone I could hear my three sisters weeping.
Over the past months, actually, grannie often wanted me to stay longer every time I was leaving to go home. She warned that she could leave the world soon and would not be there to see me next time.
She twice asked me: "Let's shake hands" when I left her. I wanted to hug her, but she was frightened, as all her body and bones were too weak to stand my hugging. So I could only shake hands with her. I wish I had kissed her. She must have needed our embracing badly.
Yesterday, when your eldest aunt looked at all the clothes, things left
behind by grannie, she cried a lot. When your youngest aunt tried to soothe
her, both cried together.
I took the next coach to Taipei and saw her lying peacefully. I prayed and kissed her for the last time.
In Taipei we all thought of her hardships and hard times she had endured in the course of bringing us up.
In her later years she suffered illness painfully. She lost sight of
one eye completely while the other eye was no good either. She could not
hear well even with a hearing aid, and she lost all her appetite. She
did not like to go outdoors in the past year. The last time we ate out
together was a long time ago.
In Hsinchu, just beside late grandpa's tomb, she bought a piece of land and prepared a tomb for herself in 1997. She will be buried there when the memorial service ends.
There many things to be done, but this time your uncle (not the youngest one), who just returned from a trip to Japan, will help in Taipei.
1 April 2004 Thursday
My grandmother was 94 when she died. She outlived my grandfather by 8 years.
Last time I saw her was May 2002.
She wanted to give me her hand-made pajamas, sweaters, and other things, all of which were too small for me.
One of the things I enjoyed most whenever I visited her was to climb into her big bed and take out the photo albums behind it. I never got tired of flipping through the same photo albums and asking the same questions: Who is that? What is this cousin or that uncle doing now? Where are they?
She married young and raised six children, the eldest of whom was my dad. She was fond of telling stories of the earlier days in Shanghai.
I admired her value of her independence and privacy, to such an extent that she insisted on locking her door when she took a nap. She read newspapers everyday and had an inquisitive mind.
Life is short. It's later than you think. Cherish those you love.