Going to my grandmother’s funeral felt very surreal. With the health complications she’s had the last couple of years, every time my father called me on my cell phone, I’d wonder if he’d tell me that something had happened to grandma or if she had passed. I always wondered how I’d find out and when it would happen.
I’m glad I got to fly home to attend her funeral. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. As far back as I can remember, I grew up wanting to do and say things to people that I wouldn’t regret. I would think to myself, “What if he or she died tomorrow?” I don’t know how that idea got into my head, but it made me behave in ways that I think were more “polite” than other kids. And living this way has helped me to treat people with the intention of not taking any person for granted.
So at my grandmother’s funeral, while going through the Chinese traditions and the Buddhist rituals with my family and extended family, I realized that each of us had to face our own conscience in respect to our personal relationship with grandma. I feel lucky in that she lived in Los Angeles and that I got to visit her more often than other family members. I got to teach her how to play “Connect Four” and do mundane things with her, like eat peanuts, watch TV, or just sit in silence and enjoy each others’ presence. I’m thankful that I got to give her a massage that helped her to relax and put her to sleep like a baby when her whole body was aching and she hadn’t slept well for days.
I checked my Blackberry when I got back to LA and looked at the phone log that dated back to the few days before I left for Mexico. I saw that she had called me. It made me sad to realize that I will never receive a phone call from her again. And although I will never hear her voice on the other end of the phone line or be able to walk through her door and give her a hug, I know she’s still with me. I can still feel her presence and in a strange way, I feel like she’s closer to me now than ever before.
Cheers to a Healthy. Happy. Sexy. You.