103 – A Birthday to Celebrate

If there should be anything sweet about grieving, it may be remembering the good times.  If Mama had lived three more months, she would have turned 103 today.  Life just isn’t the same without her sweet, snarky remarks.  I miss hearing the sound of her tapping on the kitchen table as she waited for food.  I miss her short determined shuffles as she used to make her way around my sister’s house.  There’s a lot to miss.  In remembrance of Mama, here is what I shared at her memorial service:

Probably around the time I was in college, I remember when I would be driving somewhere and I would just cry because I realized that Mama (and Yeye) were getting old. I dreaded the day I would have to say goodbye to them.  The day Mama passed, I cried tears… not of dread, but of gratitude.

There is a beautiful hymn that sings “How marvelous, how wonderful, is my Savior’s love for me!”

God is so good. He allowed our entire family to have to more time with Mama than we ever expected. And I praise God for that.

If God took Mama when she was 80, I would have been 12. I was not even an adult and I didn’t even get my first job yet.

If God took Mama at 90, I would have been 22. Not yet married.

If God took Mama at 95, I would have been 27. Not yet a mom.

Through 30+ years with Mama, God taught me compassion.  She was a like a sister/soulmate to me, a much older one that is.  And it is because of my relationship with her that I came to love the elderly and find a career path in it.  Through watching her marriage, God blessed me with a very clear example of how to love my spouse sacrificially. Mama showed me what it looked like to put the needs of her husband before her own even when it was not easy. I feel fortunate that God allowed that.

Mama spent a lot of time recounting how kind people were to her throughout her life. The phrase “Thank you very muchie jie jie” is one Mama coined.  She said this phrase so often that her great grandchildren even the young ones caught on and they happily chant that same phrase to this day. She taught all of us even those almost 100 years younger than her what it means to have a grateful heart.

Recounting the kindness of God and the kindness of others is something Mama was really good at it. And so as a family, we wanted to do the same thing and recount our memories of Mama and how blessed we are for the time we had with her.

(Cue awesome video of our family’s memories that I cannot play on wordpress).