As the kid who grew up without a mom, I always prided in the fact that all four of my grandparents were living and loving! I had great relationships with all of them, and that somehow seemed to ease the pain. When my friends talked about how they only had 1 or 2 living grandparents or that they’ve never met their grandparents, I would beam with pride because I loved all of my grandparents, and I actually enjoyed hanging out with them! And this pride lasted me all throughout my childhood into my mid 20’s. 😀
Well, 12 years ago today, I sat in the waiting room of a hospital with my extended Lee family. My Grandma Lee had been in the hospital for weeks, and we were praying that she’d be strong enough to go into surgery. Our prayers were answered… or we thought. About 3 minutes after she was taken down to the Operating Room, the doctor came back up to get the family. She had stopped breathing on her way down. Everything that happened after we got down to the OR floor is very vivid in my head. I remember the insensitivity of one of the doctors. I remember the smell of the hallway. I remember how pale and yet beautiful and peaceful my grandma looked. I remember my dad breaking out in tears and touching my grandma’s face. I couldn’t believe that I had actually lost a grandparent!
I felt a special connection with my grandma. Not only because she cooked for me for so many years or she taught me how to gamble with Korean playing cards or nagged me for years for having double ears-pierced… but because she understood what it was like to lose a mom at a young age. We cried together countless times over the loss of our moms as little girls and the challenges of growing up without our moms. My grandma really had difficult childhood, and made mine look so easy in comparison. My grandma had the ultimate Cinderella story, and she always comforted me with hope. My grandma would always tell me how much she prays for me and my future every morning. I think my grandma seemed really tough on the outside, but I saw a lot of her heart in our interactions.
My sweet 94-year old grandpa and my dad still visit her grave pretty religiously… and they are probably disappointed in my cousins and I for not visiting our grandmother’s grave in the last 10 years… but Grandma Lee is always in my heart, and I think of her all the time! And especially today, I miss her lots! And I’m always grateful that she was MY GRANDMA!!! 🙂