Remembering Grandma Wong

I remember from the fuzzy edges of my distant memory how I always came home to my Grandmother during kindergarten, back when she lived with us in order to care for me. We would spend entire afternoons looking out the window counting the taxis occasionally passed by. On weekends she’d take me to dimsum or Hardees at the mall in ChiFu. We’d play in the arcade together. Sometimes we’d walk through the wet market and wander in the garden. She’d tell me stories about her youth in Shanghai, the communist takeover, and her journey to Hong Kong—this city which was really a foreign place to her. She told me about her life in this new city, her new friends, my grandfather whom I’ve never met, bringing up my father, seeing him leave for the States. She spoke to me in eclectic mix of Shanghainese and Cantonese that few others would probably understand. And I would always listen attentively. During those years in Pokfulam, she was my constant companion. We even had our own language.

When I was in 3rd grade, my family moved away from Pokfulam so that I could be closer to my primary school. Meanwhile, grandma was immersing herself in the life of the Chi Fu community. I’d visit her to hear her stories. She’d visit us and bring new clothes for me to wear, and snacks from St. Anne’s for me to eat. I always looked forward to our visitations, but at same time I began to grow too impatient to just sit around to hear stories. I was discovering a whole new world beyond our friendship and I wanted my own stories to tell.

Eventually, I left for the US to go to school, only returning to see my grandma two or three times a year. And during that time, my grandma’s frame began to shrink. She stopped dying her hair black and it turned a frosty grey. She slipped, fell, and was hospitalized one summer, when I was home from abroad, which began a long process of declining morale. She moved in with us for the past 6 years, and she grew quiet and resigned. When I saw her in June, she was tired and sleeping more than she ever had since I’ve known her. I could not have guessed that June would turn out to be my last time seeing her. I had not yet told her all the stories of my growing up, my adventures, my successes, and my failures while I was gone. She would have loved to hear and I wish I still had the chance.

If there were one thing I’d like my grandmother to be remembered for, it would be her immense love. Though it was not always easy to understand her language, her traditional thinking, and her stubborn personality, she was really full of love. I know this because I’ve experienced it first hand again and again and again. She always wanted the best for her son and her grandchildren. Even as she aged, she always wanted to make we were well fed and happy—even though I was not always there to make she that she was the same. She believed in us and she believed that we would do something good in this world. She was always proud of our accomplishments, however insignificant it may be. I will miss her sorely, but I know that her love has not and will not dim. When there is a chilly evening, and I remember to bring a coat, it will be her loving voice that reminded me. And if I manage to do some good in this world, I will think of the proud smile that she would have carried.


Chinese version:

我依稀記得,我小的時候,住在薄扶林,幼稚園放學回家後,嫲嫲總會耐性地陪我做功課。做完後,嫲嫲陪著我,從家中的窗口,數著偶然經過的的士。 我又記得,周末時,嫲嫲帶我到置富去飲茶,之後有時會在商場中流連,有時會到公園散步。嫲嫲最喜歡跟我說故事,說她年青在上海的歡樂歲月,說戰亂和逃難的經歷,她會描述如何安居香港,如何把我的父親撫養成人,送他到外國留學。她用他很重的上海口音,說了很多的故事給我聽。當時,我倆是最好最好的朋友。

當我十歲和妹妹五歲的時候,父母想方便我們上學,決定搬離薄扶林。我們的世界就變了。雖然我們經常回到置富,嫲嫲也常常帶了許多新衣服和零食探我們,但是我們已經不再像從前,我們倆兄妹認識了自己的朋友,有了自己的興趣,不肯整天靜聽嫲嫲說故事。到我十四歲,我到美國留學,妹妹後來也跟著出國留學 ,我們一年只回港2或3次,見嫲嫲的時間也越來越少。


最可惜的,是我們從來沒有告訴她,她是世界上最好的嫲嫲。儘管她思想傳統,個性執著,她內心充滿無條件的愛。這我們很清楚,因為我們有幸一次,再次及多次感受過。嫲嫲為她的兒孫奉獻一切:辛苦的時候 ,她總是靜靜忍受;年紀老邁時候,她仍然記掛著我們的飲食和快樂。如果天氣寒冷,我會聽到她慈祥的聲音提醒我,要多穿件衣服。如果有一日我有多少成就,我知道掛在她臉上,會是多燦爛的笑容。我和妹妹曦林,會永遠懷念嫲嫲無微不至的愛。