On this wonderful Christmas day, I want to share this special tribute I tearfully wrote and dedicated to our dearest Grandma on Monday as we said our final earthly farewells. As we remembered her life, we laughed and cried as we relived the memories she left. We look ahead to our grand reunion in heaven where laughter and joy will forever fill the air.
See you soon Ama.
Creating this tribute to my ama is probably one of the hardest things I ever have to write in my life. Words will never be enough to express the kind of woman she was. I don’t I will ever fully express the depth of love and gratitude that I have for her. She wasn’t just the matriarch of our family, she was our rock. She carried our family through the toughest circumstances, sacrificing all she had and did all that so she could to keep us together.
After my mom died, ama took on the role of being my mom and my grandma. She went way beyond the normal grandma’s to-do list. She raised me as her own and loved me with all that she had and all that she was. She cradled me in her arms when I was sad, she hugged me when I was lonely. Even though her arms were tired, she tapped me until I was finally asleep. She woke up early to prepare my meals and made sure I was ready for the day. She even braved the flood with me when the water was up to our knees just to get me home. Sacrificial love was her gift. She lived it daily. Though I was brat, she loved me without hesitation. Never once did she complain. I regret not saying thank you enough and appreciating her enough but I know now that her unconditional love drove her to care for me as much as she did.
I clearly remembered the night back when I was 7 or 8 years old when I snuggled next to her and as tears rolled down my face, she hugged me a little tighter and asked me what was wrong. At that age I still slept in between her and my grandpa. I told her to promise me that she will never ever leave me. I told her I wanted her to be a part of every single significant moment in my life. I told her I never wanted her to die. She told me her time would come but it wouldn’t be soon because she was going to live to see her great grandchildren. She laughed and told me to promise to give her many great grandchildren. We ended that night with a promise I so desperately wanted to keep. Years went by and as her health deteriorated, I worried that I would break that promise. In 2011, when I found out I was pregnant with our eldest son, Micah, I prayed hard for many many nights that the Lord would have mercy and grant her the grace to hold on—to hold just a little longer so she could meet her first great-grandchild. I wanted so much to keep that promise.
In His kindness, the Lord allowed us to bring Micah home twice and she got to see him. Micah got to play in her room and hug and kiss his tai-ma. I remembered sitting by her bedside and whispering in her ear, Ama, I kept my promise. I saw her blink her eyes as she looked at me, like she agreed. My heart was full. When I got pregnant with Titus last year, I prayed and asked God to ask her to hold on a little longer once again. Her condition had gotten worse and was in and out of the hospital. My family told me they would miss his birth because of ama’s condition. As I counted days to our trip home this year, I couldn’t wait for their first meeting to happen. Visiting her was our top priority. I would smile every time I imagined Titus in ama’s bed and touching her face with his tiny fingers. It would be a heartwarming reunion, or so I thought.
When I received the news last Tuesday, my heart broke. I wept and asked the Lord why He didn’t let her wait a little longer. Two more weeks and my magical day would happen. But He is Sovereign. I wasn’t angry, I was just sad. As Chris and I prayed that night, memories of her flooded my head. I held the boys a little tighter that night, just like she held me. A peace overwhelmed me and a promise was remembered. My husband reminded me that God had already answered our prayers and I had fulfilled my promise. I knew he was right and I was thankful for the time she had with Micah. As I contemplated, I realized now that she doesn’t only get to see my boys, she also gets to watch over them everyday. Distance will no longer hinder her presence anymore. She will get to see Titus’ first step and witness Micah’s first day of college. She will no longer miss out on any part of their lives because she can watch them from the best view, heaven.
It’s funny how a lot of her comes out in me as I raise my boys. An oatmeal (Quacker) will always be a staple for breakfast while a cup of rice, lots of meat, vegetables, and fruits will always be present at lunch and dinner and noodles will always be available in our pantry. I always add an extra layer of t-shirt and tuck it in because I can hear her voice in my head, telling me that if it wasn’t tucked, draft from the wind will make their backs cold. Socks need to be on their feet to keep them warm at night and a jacket is a must-have in the car. Always finish your food or every single grain left in it will be a pimple on your future partner’s face. Keep your elbows off the table or you’ll forever be stuck with it. Some are silly, some are wise, but all of them are memories and stories that will forever be retold. Though she may not be here with us physically, her legacy will last a lifetime. Her stories, her smile, her words of wisdom, and acts of love have forever been engraved in our hearts and it will live on through generations.
As I smile at her memory and celebrate her life, I see her singing praise to God with the choirs of angels. Her face is lit up and glowing like the sun. What a magnificent picture that is. This year will probably be her best Christmas yet. She gets to celebrate and sing happy birthday to the celebrant with Himself! I will always rejoice knowing that because of Christ, this is not our final goodbye, this is a just a “see you later, Ama.” To the One who has created the best grandma there ever was and will ever be, to the One who has called her home to be with Himself, and to the One who is capturing our hearts and giving us overwhelming peace, Jesus, be all the glory, honor and praise. I love you, Ama. Forever.