You lovely friends and readers may have noticed things have been quiet on the chi-lan.com homefront. It’s because, I am sorry to report that my amazingly funny, full of life, and a treasure to the community of a grandmother got fairly sick on the 19th of February, and she passed away on the 22nd. Luckily, after shooting the inaugural run of FridayFinds.com for THE TALK, I was able to speak with her doctors, and get a plane ticket up to Denver with my family Friday.
My grandmother, Mui (‘Rose’ in Chinese) is a woman that inspired me daily, and even in memory, she makes me a better person. Not much is known of her childhood, but what I do know is she was widowed in her late 30s by a man she saw as the love of her life. He and she had a family of 6 children, of which three daughters and one son are still with us. Once she was widowed, she told me she decided never to marry because in those days, if widowed women took another husband, they were expected to leave their old household for their new. That meant she would have to discard her children to the streets. She loved her children, and even though she wasn’t able to provide much for them, they stayed together. Grandmother would tell me stories of how she had to learn how to take 5-day old rice that had mold growing on it, and boil it until it was edible. She would describe how in those days, they were lucky if they had a few pieces of meat to season their rice. And nothing was ever thrown away–all holes were patched in clothing. Cardboard was slipped into soles of shoes to make them usable again. It was a hardscrabble life – the kind that you only think exists in movies. But Grandma lived it, and my mother grew up in it.
Grandmother taught me many lessons during my almost 20 lucky years of having her with us in Southern California. She taught me that no matter what happens within the family, my father is always my father, and my mother is always my mother. That will stand whether or not apologies are said or feelings remain hurt. Family is what are and have. And for that luxury, we are lucky.
My grandmother died at 98 1/2 years old. And everyone who met her adored her infectious smile and ease of laughter. I will always carry her smile with me.
I love you grandma.