亂世紀往 | 紀年 |
Edward Lee Remembers NaiNai, his Grandma Yee-Jung Lee
I guess I could take this
time to say all the things that one expects from someone who’s up here but I’ll
spare you that.
For as long as I remember, my parents both worked. So, when
the school day was over it was my grandmother’s place that I came back to and
I remember each day walking to her house from the bus stop
and looking forward to whatever food she prepared for me that day.
I think this sort of routine carried on until the 8th
I would get something to eat, settle in and get prepared to
do that day’s homework on the dining table.
As was my wont, I would be a troublemaker—causing her no
small headache. She was always patient and good-natured about it, even when I
managed to get on her last nerve.
Now that I think about it, though, it never really occurred
to me (and I can’t seem to remember) what she did while I was studying or
causing a ruckus.
But, there were always—always—great aromas wafting through
So, I guess that’s what she was doing when I was around after
school—cooking; both for me and my exhausted parents when they came to
pick me up from work that day.
And, I guess…that’s what grandmothers do—they cook for you and take
care of you in the way that only they can.
Because her home was small, it was always warm and toasty at
her house in the wintertime.
You know, in the end it’s the little things that I remember.
That’s what it’s always about because, while this may all
sound banal and everyday, it’s what I remember best because it was in the
day-to-day and the ordinariness of it all that I experienced a grandmother’s—my
grandmother’s—great and encompassing love.
No overtures, no grandiose gesture—because,
although it might be suitable for others, she was much simpler than that in her
life and what she expected from it.
I think I speak for at least a few of you when I say I wished
she smiled more or that she was happier.
But, I don’t know if that’s fair as I think everyone
experiences and expresses joy in different ways.
Because she lived a life of sacrifice and self-abnegation, it
seemed that she was always putting her own needs aside for those of other
I think it’s all too easy for me to forget that, aside from
being my grandmother, she was also someone’s mother, someone’s wife…someone’s
And, as someone’s mother she sacrificed what she had to raise
three sons by herself—sons that, when you look at them and the men they’ve
become, undoubtedly make her happy, joyful and proud when it matters the most.
It’s so true that we always wish for what we never had. All
the could-ofs, all the would-haves.
I wish I had spent more quality time with her when it counted
but…it’s okay because she knows—grandmothers just have a way of knowing.
You know, she would love how her family and friends have
gathered here like this.
I think that’s what happens when someone you love passes
on…it brings everyone together.
She’d be proud of this moment right here.
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