A tribute to my Grandma…

Three days before Christmas, my family and I held a funeral service for my grandma. It was a bittersweet visit. I was glad to be able to spend Christmas with my family again, but it was a difficult time for me as well, knowing our beloved Lola is no longer with us.

A few days before we flew to the States to be with my family, my sister asked me to write my eulogy. I procrastinated for a while, partly because I was having a hard time to put how I feel into words. On the plane while holding our sleeping daughter in my arms, I grabbed my Ipad mini and started to write. I felt a lump on my throat after I finished the first paragraph. I had to pause and take a break. Eventually, after several attempts of finishing this eulogy, I was able to put the last words few hours before my grandma’s funeral service started.

She’s one special lady. This heartfelt eulogy is for her…


Thank you all for coming.

When I first heard about my grandmother’s passing, I was at a public swimming pool with my girls. It was their last swimming lesson for the year. My sister called, but I wasn’t able to answer it so she left me a voice message instead. When I saw her missed call, my heart skipped a beat. For some reason, I knew. I held my breath as I listened to her voice message. She broke the news to me in between sobs. But the noise around me drowned her muffled voice. So I quickly ran into one of the stalls in the changing room, and listened to her call again. Behind the closed door of the loo, and out of the public sight, I cried. For a brief moment, I allowed myself to mourn. 

Her death wasn’t necessarily unexpected. When she did not respond well to rehab after her hip pinning surgery, we knew it’s just a matter of time. And yet even then, I felt like a rug was pulled out from underneath my feet. A part of me knew it’s going to happen soon, but I also wanted to believe she will pull through it, just like she had in the past… that she will be released from the hospital to continue to recuperate at home. It wasn’t part of my plan that she will not get to meet Baby Olson number 3, and that she will miss her centennial birthday party. Neither was it part of my plan that I won’t be able to personally say goodbye to her during her last days. I think that was the hardest part of it all. I was already planning to see her in a few days before I heard the news. I wished I had more time – more time to spend with her, sitting on her bed, showing pictures of her great grandkids while a black and white movie in a small TV screen plays in the background. More time to let her know I love her and that she means a lot to me. 

My grandmother was more than just a grandmother I see every weekend or on special occasions. She had been the mother I never had when my mom died when I was just a baby. She helped my dad with raising me and my sister together with our grandpa. They left for the States when I was 13, but I can’t remember a single moment during my formative years without her in it. She had been my consistent playmate when I didn’t have anybody my age to play with. We’d play house where she lets me play with my aunt’s antique clay pots and tableware. We’d make dresses for my dolls. We’d sing songs together. When I was in elementary, grandpa and grandma would take me and my sister to school and picked us up when our classes were done. I liked coming home to the smell of her home-cooked meal. I especially liked it when she would hang the blue flower curtains she made with matching hand-crocheted valance, and the blue striped seat covers she sewed that made our living room look so bright and beautiful. Being a very talented dressmaker, she could practically make any dress in any style by just looking at the catalogues. I remember her clients coming to our house with magazines in their hand, asking if she could make a particular design with some modifications based on their preferences, and my grandma would always say “yes” with a smile on her face. She was meticulous in her craft, and strived for perfection in whatever she did, which gained her loyal and happy customers. 

When I told my grandma I will be performing as Dona Aurora in a school play that I wrote back when I was in Grade 6, she laboured long hours to make me the most beautiful white gown I’ve ever seen. But what’s more impressive than the gown itself was her ingenuity and her resourcefulness in making it. Pressed for time, and not having enough fabric to use, my grandma used long scraps of white silk from a previous project, and she sewed them together and created a breathtaking masterpiece that made me feel like I was a princess every time I was wearing it. I loved the gown so much I wore it so many times until the zipper at the back broke. If she was only as strong as she was then when I got married, I would have asked her to make me the same gown as my wedding dress.

Apart from her creativity and her amazing sewing talent, grandma had a very gentle demeanor, wanting nothing but harmony in the house, never abrasive nor pushed her way. She liked to edify people, making them feel specialShe was also a very faithful wife, and loving mother and grandmother to her kids and grandchildren. 

She had always believed in me and thought I could be whatever I want to be. In her own simple way, she made me feel I could accomplish great things. And the joy in her eyes the last time I visited her and sang her some songs with my sister’s ukulele gave me a glimpse of how she felt about me now – that she was very proud of who I had become. No words necessary. We just exchanged that knowing look and I still keep it dear to my heart. 

Two weeks prior to her admission to the hospital; my aunt said she had been talking to my picture. I only found out about this when she already passed away. But the strange thing was, I had been seeing her in my dreams almost around the same time too. Maybe it’s her way of communicating with me… of reaching out to me even though we were miles away. I wished I listened more to my instinct and had booked my flight sooner. I really wished I could have been there for her and held her hand one last time.

Writing this eulogy had not been easy for me, but it gives me great comfort looking back at the memories we shared together. So as much as I would love to tell you all the little things that made her so special to me, I’m afraid there’s only so much my voice and my emotions can handle (being 7 months pregnant and all on top of that). You would just have to take my word for it, that having her in my life as I was growing up had been a tremendous blessing for my dad, for me, and my sister as well

wrote a song for her that I just finished last night, sitting on her favourite spot on the couch, imagining her sitting close to me, hearing every single word.

This song is for you Lola a piece of my heart in lyrical melody

How do I say goodbye to you?

Can’t you see that this hard for me to do?

A part of me still wants to see your smile,

And hear your voice when you call my name.


I wish I can see you again…

I was hoping this was not the end.

It hurts to know you’re not here.

But even though you are gone, you’ll always be near. 


When will I stop asking for another chance?

To be next to you, stroke your hair, and hold your hand?

I hope you’re in a better place right now

And looking down at us in the clouds.


I wish I can see you again…

I was hoping this was not the end.

It hurts to know you’re not here.

But even though you are gone, you’ll always be near. 


Your smile, your gentleness stays with me forever

Your kindness, your faithful love I will cherish with all of my heart

So rest in peace…Oh…oh… oh.

So rest in peace… Oh…oh… oh.

Rest in peace.

pic with grandma


Comments (2)

  • miakouppa

    December 29, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Sincere condolences. May her lovely memory be eternal. She looks like she was a sweet, sweet woman.

    1. Zhi

      December 29, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Thank you! She was a sweet, gentle and kind lady.

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