We often hear people say that what causes the most suffering in life isn’t due to what happened to us; rather, how we handle the situation. In other words, the kind of attitude that we have in times of difficulty determines the level of suffering that we have to endure.
I recently said goodbye to my dear maternal grandmother. A heroic woman, who was sold as a child bride by her family but then managed to escape from her in-law into the hill and later joined the Chinese red army at the age of fourteen to fight against the Japanese invasion and occupation, she lived her life to the fullest; a journey that was marked by kindness, generosity and benevolence. At her funeral ceremony, torrential downpour didn’t stop almost two hundred people from showing up, voluntarily, to celebrate her legacy; the profound impact that she had had on their lives.
I cried twice over my grandmother’s passing. The first one took place right after I read a text message from my dad, announcing to me the news. The second one happened after I had a phone conversation with both of my uncle and my mom. Through this difficult time, my spirit was low and heavy. I tried not to remind myself of the reality that I didn’t get one last opportunity to see my maternal grandmother in person. I knew that if I kept pushing myself down that self-blame rabbit hole, it would have been so hard for me to climb out of it.
I didn’t know what to say to comfort my mom and my uncle. To my surprise, they were surprisingly at peace with my maternal grandmother’s passing. Instead of looking at my maternal grandmother’s passing as such a tragic event, they had chosen to view it from a different pair of lenses. They told me that my maternal grandmother was blessed to have lived till her old age. She was admired and respected by her villagers and former colleagues. Luckier than many people of her time, she lived to see the birth of her great grandchild. By leaving her physical body behind, she no longer needed to suffer her physical immobility and internal organ failures. Their positive attitude did make my dealing with my maternal grandmother’s passing so much easier.
My maternal grandmother was Christian. The priest at her funeral told everyone that she was now with her loving Saviors up in heaven. I love you grandma Fu! Please rest well and watch over us!