Grief is a personal thing.  For some, it’s a private activity - to grieve in their own way, on their own time.  For others, it’s to be shared.  Sharing lightens the load.  Sharing allows them to feel as if they’re not alone.

My grandmother Stella died peacefully in her sleep last week.  Her funeral in California was this past weekend.  She was 96 years old and surrounded by family when she passed.  Her children, including my mom, had all gathered in California for an impromptu reunion / Chinese New Year celebration.  My mom had come down with the flu right before she went to California and, trying to prevent the flu from spreading to the rest of the family, didn’t get to see my grandma before she died. 

My grandmother was many things to many people - a devoted wife, a loving mother, a kind grandmother, a cheerful friend.  In their later years, she and my grandfather ran boarding houses for immigrant college students in East Texas.  They touched so many lives that we’re still finding out about - my grandfather with his big personality and my grandmother in her own quiet way.  She loved to laugh and smile, to share, and to sing.  She must have thought we were so strange and alien, her American grandchildren that were all so bold and tall and could only converse with her in broken Mandarin.  She loved us anyway and showed us she did with food, mail-ordered knick knacks, and hugs.

My mom misses her mother.  Even when my grandma got hard of hearing, my mom would still call her regularly, yelling into the phone so she could be heard.  When they were together, they’d sit next to each other and hold hands - my mom undoubtedly softly chiding her mom for not wearing the clothes she bought her or needlessly pinching pennies.  My mom has now taken to texting me about how she felt / feels about her relationship with her mom, of all the things she wishes that she said, of all the things that she took for granted.  As I mentioned, grief takes many forms.  The small hope I have for all those who are grieving is that it helps guide them through their loss and allows them to heal.