My grandmother passed away last Tuesday (Oct 29th, 2019). She was 90 years old. I have a lot of precious memories with her. My mother was the eldest child of her, and I was the only grandson for five years before my younger brother was born. To my grandparents, I believe I was so special. While I was in elementary school, my mother was busy with her career. So, I was sent to my grandparents for the entire summer/winter vacations. I spent all the vacation days with my grandmother when I was young, and it was thought as an obvious and essential annual routine for me.
When I grew up, I did not visit her often. After my daughter was born, my family (my wife, me and my daughter) has visited my grandmother a couple of times, and she was so happy to see my family. At that time, my daughter was too young to speak. When she was able to speak, she called my grandmother “king-grandma”.
Two weeks ago, I heard that my grandmother fell down and became unconscious. She was sent to a hospital for examination. The MRI showed that she had “Cerebral hemorrhage”. There was bleeding everywhere outside her skull. The bleeding was so serious that there was no chance she could be recovered.
I was with my daughter when I heard this news. I shed tears at the news, and my daughter asked me why. When I explained to her that king-grandma was very sick and she would pass away soon, she also wept and said, “I am also sad like you, daddy”. Next day, I drove to the hospital where she was staying. She was in an emergency room. She was unconscious with harsh breathing. There was nothing much I could do. I simply held her hands, face and legs for a few minutes.
On last Tuesday, I received a news that she passed away. That night, I drove again to the hospital where my grandmother was resting. I stayed there for three days with my immediate family members until the date of her funeral. Of course, I was sad. But I was somewhat relieved with the fact that my grandmother did not suffer much before she passed away.
Explaining death to my 3-year-old daughter was difficult for me. The concept of death is still unclear to her. She sometimes tells me to go heaven without knowing the exact meaning if it. I told my daughter that king-grandma passed away and she went to heaven. As usual, she asked me a bunch of questions such as “how did she go to heaven? By train or by plane?” I answered that her body remained here while her soul flew to heaven. When I told her that King-grandma was born a long time ago, she asked me instantly, “why was she born long time ago?” When I answered that there are many people who were born long time ago, her question was “why?” Explaining these kinds of concepts to a child is quite tough to me. Probably, many parents will feel the same way. My daughter haven’t seen a lot of deaths yet. But she will face more of them as she grows, and that is part of her journey through her life. My daughter, face and experience a lot of things, and please grow up well.
And, peace in heaven, Grandma!