Feed on
By JC Sue

Christmas, 1991

My grandma visited the hospital with a large camera in hand. She took many pictures of me. I was small enough for my mom to hold me – six and a half pounds, 19 inches long. I have no memory of this moment, but I saw it in pictures later in life.

Being part of a Chinese family, I came to know my grandma as “Paw paw.” As far as grandmas go, she was definitely quite grand!
Every time my parents and I visited her for dinner, she always made delicious food.
Walking into the house, we would smell a wonderful aroma coming from the kitchen, and Paw paw would be at the stove watching over several pots and pans. I would look forward to eating the food, especially Paw paw’s candied yams. Her candied yams were firm, yet soft and had just the right amount of sweetness. I loved them!
I would also look forward to getting Pocky biscuits from Paw paw right before going home again. She had a small pack of them for me every time my parents and I visited. They quickly became one of my favorite snacks.
Staying overnight at Paw paw’s house was always a joy for me. She would always greet me with a friendly smile and help me get settled into a bedroom. During the day we would visit various places with my grandpa. I remember a day when we wandered through San Francisco, riding a cable car and seeing various stores with incredible collections of merchandise. Another day I remember visiting Sunset Beach, playing in the sand, watching the waves, and watching my grandparents fish. The days were free, open to adventure and recreation. I enjoyed every moment of them!
At the end of each of these days, just before I went to bed, Paw paw would read me a bedtime story. She had quite a collection – particularly classic fairy tales and Dr. Suess! After reading the story, she would kindly say “Good night,” turn off the light, and close the bedroom door. That was always such a nice way to end the day!
Then hardship came into Paw paw’s life. She developed breast cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy. She was quite resilient! Even when she was feeling tired and weak from the treatment, she still looked cheerful. She still cooked, played piano, laughed, and conversed enthusiastically. It was as though she was perfectly healthy! Amazingly enough, after a few years she managed to completely recover.
Unfortunately that was not the end of the cancer. It reappeared several years after Paw paw’s recovery, even worse than before. It spread to her liver, and she ended up in the hospital. She was placed on hospice care, with about a month left to live. My parents and I planned to visit her a few days later, but that visit never occurred. The end came much more suddenly than expected. The day after Paw paw had been placed on hospice care, my mom woke me up for school and told me,”Paw paw passed away.” Those words were devastating and hard to take in. I found it hard to believe that her life had just ended. Nevertheless, I was glad that Paw paw was free of suffering.
I believe that Paw paw still lives on in spirit and in Heaven. I still have many fond memories of the time I spent with her. I will never forget her.

Leave a Reply