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November 17, 2008

goodbye, Bobo


this morning, Yu-Ying Eva Lee Chan(g), known to her grandchildren as "Bobo" -- the English transliteration of a Chinese word for "grandmother" -- quietly died. to everyone's surprise, most of all her own, she'd made it to 99 years old, or 100 Chinese years old, since you are counted as 1 year old at birth. she was in her own bed, sleeping (not in the hospital connected to a bunch of tubes), and most of her family had said their goodbyes. she knew she was loved. we knew we were fiercely loved by her. her life was rich and amazing and full of courage: from fleeing the Communist advance in Shanghai to making a new life with a new language and culture in America; from rejecting the old ways of her parents by getting an education and becoming a Christian, to working in nursing until well past traditional retirement age...and most of all, raising my mother along with many other children, both hers and others' -- Eva Chan was a phenomenal woman. i hope i can pass on even a fraction of her strength, faith, and love to my own children.
i'd like to think that this morning when she woke up in heaven, she was quite delighted. Jesus would lean over her: get up, Eva. get up, Yu-Ying, you're home! he'd say. she would laugh: ah, finally! it's about time i got here! Jesus chuckles: it's those long life noodles you ate all these years, he'll kid her. look, you made it to the ultimate Chinese long life year, ninety-nine! my grandmother will lean into Him, still laughing, His arm around her now straight and tall shoulders. Yu-Ying, He'll say, come and see your new home. it's got an amazing kitchen, and i know someone who grows the best tomatoes this side of heaven. i think you'll like seeing him again...
goodbye, Bobo. the day i come join you, i won't be surprised if you're waiting for me there, like you always did here, with a fresh homemade batch of char siu bao...

Posted by hadashi at November 17, 2008 7:56 AM


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