Goodbye, Gran, I miss you

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On Sunday evening I arrived in my parents' house for the end of year holidays. To an empty house. I had been so looking forward to seeing my parents again, and enjoying Mum's lovely foods. Alas, it was not to be.

I got a surprise call from Korea on my cellphone the afternoon before, while at work. Auntie, what's the occasion for this expensive call? She was looking for Mum. She couldn't reach her. Could I please let Mum know that she wants to talk to her? What's wrong, Auntie?

Gran died.


I had to pass on the news to Mum, myself. As gently as I could, but how do you break such a news, totally unexpected? My parents had had a big dinner party planned at their place that night and Mum had been busy preparing the whole day. How did she hold herself up all through it? They got the first plane in the morning to Seoul, so she could see her mother go.

Gran had been in her mid-80s, and no one thought she'd go so quickly. She had been a tiny lady, though not skinny, and full of energy. She lived alone in a house in the countryside, tending to her crops of pumpkins and cabbages and I don't know what else. She had a loud voice and an equally loud personality, ever the centre of her grown children's lives, still, holding them together. It was not her style to ever cushion things, and she could be so blunt, sometimes! Mum's side of the family had always been huge and almost meddling close, thanks to Gran. The type of crazy full-house family I'd like to have, one day.

The funny thing is, I had just thought and talked about her the night before. Was it a sign? I wanted to talk to her and ask her about something/someone, and now I won't be able to. I miss her abalone soup and cucumber kimchi, some of the few Korean dish I actually like. I remember her taking care of my sister and I when we were small, when she kept me company in my room at nights; her first time visiting us in NZ, and being thrilled with her abalone trips; her playing cards, and chanting Buddhist prayers. My last memories of her are of a carefree lady with a bronzed face, laughing and talking loudly with her children in her house. Also with the extended family, happy, and a teeny bit tipsy. Not bad memories, at all.

She had a good life, my gran.

Goodbye, Gran. I miss you so much. I love you.

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