The Chinese tradition of mourning for 100 days doesn’t seem long enough right now. Although the feelings of sadness and loss are achingly raw at the moment, the celebration of a life that lasted 95 years is already starting to seep in. My Grandma passed away in her sleep and her bed was quickly surrounded by human beings that carried her blood from sons and daughters to a lot of grandchildren and through to great grandchildren in their teens. A legacy that lasts beyond the years (almost a century) that she lived on planet earth.
I can’t imagine what it was like back in 1917 in China when she was born. Walking was the only form of transport for my grandparents and they walked from China and eventually got to Southern Vietnam where my Dad was born. Settling on a plot of land between two mountains which is now the village in Vietnam where one of my aunts still lives today. That’s where we will head after 100 days to celebrate her life and give her a good send off.
We (me and my siblings) got her when she was 70 years old. Imagine moving to another country at that late stage in life, not knowing the language or culture. But actually it was just another chapter for her and she was 70 years young. We got to keep her for another 25 years. And when I think of it like that, I know we’ve been very lucky indeed.
Whilst she was in hospital last week, I joked with her in Chinese – ‘Honestly Grandma, you’ve been living in England for 25 years and you don’t speak a word of English so you can’t speak to the nurses – what on earth have you been doing with yourself all this time?!’
She replied in English – ‘Thank you!’.