In 1969, everything changed for my grandmother. All the children were across the ocean, and her husband had been ill for several years. The doctors were never quite sure what was wrong with him, but the symptoms got worse and worse, with my grandfather unable to eat, (apparently his inability to eat his favorite dish, named "lion's head" a meatball type dish made by my grandmother). He was diagnosed with liver cancer and died in Hong Kong.
My grandfather had already established himself as a pastor of a small church in Hong Kong, and i am told the community was incredibly helpful. Nevertheless, most of the family was still in the United States. My father came back, and is shown here in the picture with my grandmother at my grandfather's funeral.
With the family in the United States, my grandmother had little choice but to leave Hong Kong and join the rest of the family in the U.S. .
It is hard really to quantify or talk about my grandfather and his death's influence on my grandmother. I never knew him, as he died before i was born, and my grandmother almost never spoke of him. And yet, he was always around her in a way. They were married for around 35 years, and had literally gone through hell and back. My grandmother never remarried, and it is difficult for me to even imagine it. She was always dressed sparingly, and from i could tell her primary concerns were the family, and doing the chores. She was mostly unconcerned with social networking, though she did enjoy gossiping and comparing her age to other people. In a way she seemed like the ideal widow.
But she was only 55 at the time of my grandfather's death, and i wonder if her life may not have been more joyful if instead of playing the dutiful widow, she got remarried. As a kid i thought what she was doing was so romantic, now, i just wish she could have found more joy later in life.
Anyhow, life changed dramatically as she moved from Hong Kong to the United States.