Pingtung with Grandma


photo of my grandparents when they were young(er)
We spent a day in Pingtung to visit my 93-year old grandmother on my Dad's side. Each year, we are amazed at how sharp her mind still is; normally, she sits in her chair downstairs and talks and talks about all sorts of things the entire time we are there. This time, however, things were different.


Dad, Grandma, and Wendy

We arrived to find my grandmother not in her normal chair. After a few minutes, my aunt took us upstairs, where we found her to be no longer mobile. My father helped to get her into a chair next to the bed.

"My eyes don't see," she said, repeatedly, in Taiwanese.

We were all very tense and worried, but after a little while, my grandmother started to talk again. She wasn't quite as talkative as she was in the past, we were relieved nonetheless.

About an hour of our time was spent going through Grandma's old clothing looking for a piece of jewelry she kept insisting she wanted to give to me (for my future wife, no doubt). Eventually, we found it, and she unceremoniously presented to me without saying a word. It's a jade pendant on a platinum chain -- something obviously very valuable and important to her.

I have only seen my grandmother on this side a handful of times. An extreme language barrier makes conversation nearly impossible, and it was 15 years before I saw her for the first time.

The entire exchange had a feeling of finality about it, which made me very sad.