So Yuet Hui: August 7, 1922 – July 8, 2012

July 14, 2012

She was one month shy of her 90th birthday.

My grandma spoke a Toisan dialect of Chinese that I usually could not understand, which was a bit of an impediment in establishing close emotional bonds in spite of weekly contact, but she still completed a lifetime of care-taking that very much included my brother and I.

Since both of my parents worked full-time jobs, any days G and I were too ill to go to school were spent at my grandmother’s house, which was always pungent with the stench of moth balls. Ah, old Chinese homes.

It wouldn’t matter what we had–a bad cold, a feverish flu, or most often in my case, a nasty stomach virus–she would unfailingly feed us Ruffles potato chips, Seven-Up, and instant cup of noodle. I do not understand this today, but as a child, it was pure awesome. And since she did not speak English and probably didn’t care anyway, I was free to watch Saved by the Bell all day long, something I was not allowed to watch at home. Sick days were great (minus the vomiting).

In her heyday, my grandma would knit us legions of colorful sweaters, vests, hats, and headbands. Most of the photographs from our time spent living in Virginia show G and I bundled head-to-toe in her crafty creations. I wish I had one with me now.

These are the hardest days to be so far from home. Regret over not being able to be in San Diego to dutifully pay my last respects weighs on my heart. But for the moment, I am clinging to memories I know I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and a thankfulness that I was able to see my grandma one more time when I did go home last month.

RIP Yeen Yeen. See you on the other side.


2 Responses to “So Yuet Hui: August 7, 1922 – July 8, 2012”

  1. Joy Brougher Says:

    So sorry to hear about your Grandma, Lauren. I feel for you not being able to be there, but like you said, you were able to see her last month…something God knew would be special. Praying for you and the extended family. Mando un abrazo y estas en mis pensamientos. ~Joy

  2. Your post was very touching and your story was also very similar to mine :) My grandma is also Toisan. I lived with her since I was 3 years old and she took care of my sister and I while our parents worked. Unfortunately, she got really sick and passed away a few years ago at 93. Thanks for sharing your story and sorry to hear about your grandma as well.

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