Long-Suffering and my Grandmother’s Passing
My Grandma passed away Wednesday morning.
The funeral is happening tonight in California. With it all happening so fast, my parents decided it wasn’t worth it for me to come and asked that I stay home and look after the house and the dog.
Grandma was really old. Like, 102 years old kind of old. I knew her better when I was young when we would visit for extended periods of time. But I’ve missed out on so many trips to to California in the recent years. She always smelled like Si Chi oil and asked us to thump on her aching lower back with our fists as sort of a massage. The past few years, she had developed dementia, among other health ailments.
“Don’t come. It’s ok. Grandma and all the uncles know you’re a good girl. Grandma didn’t remember you. But she knows. It’s ok”, my mom cried over the phone.
My mother loved my grandma so well. My mother’s relationship with both her mom and her dad were really beautiful from the stories she’d tell me in broken english. She moved out a few years ago to live in California and the word that comes to mind when I think about my mother’s care for my grandmother in these past few years is: long-suffering.
It’s here that I come to grips about my own relationship with my parents. My mother doesn’t have dementia yet. I don’t think she knows how much I care for her. I hope to take after her in long-suffering. I hope to recount wonderful stories of her, in better english. And at the end of things, love her as well as she loved my grandma in her last days.
I’m so sad to not be at the funeral. To not be there yet again for Grandma. To miss out on another trip to see my extended family. I’m sad not to be there for my mom while she loses the most important and cherished person in her life.
They say, “the end of one journey is just the beginning of a new journey.” Last week, I finished my job at the cafe I’ve been working at for the past year and a half. It was the end to a journey I had given the better part of my life this past year and a half. The end of my career as a barista. The end of some relationships and bridges burned. The end of the life I’d been cultivating here. Then, the end of a life in my family. Yet, I’m about to move to Rochester. To start cultivating a life there. I’m about to begin my time as a staff member with InterVarsity. It’s the start of my mother moving back home to Long Island.
It’s in the middle of all of this where I feel so stuck. It’s where I want to stop and mourn but have to rev myself up to make a huge life transition.
But I guess here’s where I begin my first lesson in long-suffering. It’s not long-suffering if you lie down, give up, and hope things gets better. It’s the “keep on keeping on” despite the mess around you. It’s the enduring through the “long defeat”.
I’m holding on to hope that there are better days to come for my mom and my dad as they restart their lives together on Long Island. I’m holding on to hope that I’ll become the kind of loving daughter I want to be to them. I’m holding on to the belief that God’s calling is better and greater than the comfort I’ve made here, my own selfish wants, and my ambitions.
I am so thankful for the people who’ve helped carry me and counsel me through this difficult time. Thank you for enduring with me. To my best friends, my wonderful (ex) co-workers, my community from all over, and most of all to God- the ultimate example of long-suffering, love, mercy, and grace.
“. . . together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat.”
“I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’—though it contains . . . some samples or glimpses of final victory.” (J.R.R. Tolkien)