Su Family Trip to the Americas & Village travel blog

We visited our cousin Teresa's new babay, her third child

The children had fun playing games at Chucky Cheese

The library at Cerritos is like a combination of a museum and...

The aquarium on the wall with tropical fish was amazing to be...

We had Vietnamese dinner with good UCLA friends Ben & Lisa

The children slept in the grandparents living room

The cousins were sad to say farewell

The kids made a quilt for grandma's upcoming birthday

Close up of the quilt the kids did all by themselves

Saying goodbye to grandpa for the last time was difficult

George took us to the airport

Kids hugged grandma for goodbye

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The kids playing with the waterfall outside of Cerritos Library

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Grandpa praying for us before we leave for China


GET TOGETHERS

This was our last week in the US. It's hard to believe that almost 6 months had passed and we'll be heading back to China. We are looking forward to be back home in Kunming but also feel at loss of the experiences and people we'll leave behind here.

Given it was our last week, we tried to see relatives and friends as much as we can in the midst of homeschooling and packing. On Sunday, after the reunion, we visited Jon's cousin Teresa to see her new born baby of just over a month. We also met up with Ben & Lisa at Cerritos Library, which was the most extravagent library we have ever seen. The libray was elegantly decorated, full of spaces for reading, outside water playground, and has a wall aquarium, dinasour sculture, jungle motif in the Children section. We also went to Jon's uncle's home for a night swim as the children have been yearning to go even while they were in China. We also got to see Paul, Jack, and Ziyin.

During a homeschooling break after lunch, the children together with their cousin Phoebe went to Chucky Cheese, a kid's oriented meal & arcade place. They had so much fun playing with the various games. These was a machine that can create sketch like photo. So all four of them look a sketch picture to remember each other.

SAYING GOODBYES

After living for almost a month together in grandparent's home, sleeping together on the floor of living room, the children found it hard to say goodbye to their cousin Phoebe, the only child of Willis and Jocelyn. Phoebe was also very sad as she usually had no one else to play at home. Joani and Phoebe were especially close since they went to Top Kids Summer School and Vacation Bible School together. When saying goodbye, they hugged each other, shed tears, and did not want to leave. What made it easier was that they both have a Webkinz stuff animals which allows their stuff animal to send gifts and notes to each other on the internet.

Living for almost two months in LA, the children also got to know their grandparents much better. Given Jon's mom's birthday was coming up, Olivia took the lead in organizing them to make a quilt for grandma. They did everything themselves and worked in the car, during vacation, during breaks to finish it before they left LA. Finally, minutes before leaving for the airport, Olivia presented the birthday gift to grandma.

The hardest goodbye, however, was saying goodbye to Jon's grandfather or the children's great grandfather. Grandpa is 94 and has been confined in Nursing home for that last year, relying on a feeding tube for intake of food. For the past 6 months, his condition has been up and down. Given it will be another two years before we will be back in the US, it is almost certain that this will be the last goodbye. It was hard. Remembering back to all the wonderful memories we had together, the love he lavished upon us, and his constant prayers for us, it was hard to accept that we won't see him again, barring a miracle. During this last visit, grandpa prayed for us, blessed us, and asked God for protection while we are in China. We will always hold on this moment.

Thanks to George, he drove a van and took us to the airport for a farewell. The children hugged grandma as they said their last goodbye and headed back to China.

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P.S. (9 days later on Aug 11th, Grandpa passed away peacefully. Below is something I wrote for the funeral)

My Grandfather


By Jonathan Su


It was heartbreaking to see my grandfather lying on the convalescent bed. He has a tube into his stomach for food and a tube for his urine. He laid on an inflatable mattress to relief the pain from the sores on his body. He no longer could hear.

Looking at his past photos one day, I was surprised at how lively and mobile he looked just few years ago. I almost forgot that he used to be young, sporty, and had travelled all over the world. He often told me while staying at my mom’s house that he was thankful that he could still take care of himself even at over ninety years old. Then all of a sudden he went into the hospital and never came back home again.

My grandfather and I were close. When I was still young and living in Taipei, I looked forward to our yearly visit. He would buy me candies and bring me to fun places to play. During high school, when my sister and I moved to live with my uncle in Boston, he stayed with us for 3 months to help us adjust. During college, I would stay in his house in Kaoshiung when I was back in Taiwan for the summers. For most of the last 20 years after he moved to the US, grandfather lived in my old room and slept on my old bed.

In 1991 when I came back to visit him in Kaoshiung, he was just recovering from his first stroke. It was my first realization that we never know when it would be the last time we would see each other. So I wrote him a letter to express my love and appreciation for him while he is living, instead of at his funeral. (The letter is attached at the end) When I was young, Grandpa took care of me. I am glad that when Grandpa had a stroke, I took care of him.

Many times grandpa and I would sit together on his bed in my mom’s house. He would wonder to himself why God allowed him to live so long given that he doesn’t do regular exercise or watch the way he eats. “Ah Jon, “ he would say to me. “I believe God let me live so long so that I can pray for all of you.”

On Aug 2nd, a week before he passed away, we visited him for the last time on the day we were to fly back to China. The last time we left for China, he stood by the doorway of the house and waved goodbye. This time, he laid in bed. We had a feeling that it would be the last time we would see him. I sat beside him, looking at him and him looking at me, both in silence.

This time, as it was during the last few times we visited, he prayed and blessed me and my family. This was what he prayed, “上帝你的大慈愛和憐憫,主啊我們在世上的日子有上帝真正的教導, 可以過得很好,求你與我同在,使我得到你的恩典平安,他們要出國去外國,求主你也保守他們平安,靠主的聖名禱告,阿門.” (Translate: “The God of great love and mercy, during our days in the world, may we receive the true teaching from You so that we may live well. Please be with me. Let me receive your grace and peace. They will be traveling to overseas. Pray that you also grant them peace. In God’s holy name I pray, Amen.”)

Even at ninety-three years old, immobile, in pain, and now in heaven, my grandfather’s prayer has been and will be with me wherever I go.

Today, my mom called and said grandpa has passed away. When we were in China, Joani, my 6-year old daughter for the last 12 months would without us prompting faithfully pray during meals for God to make great-grandpa well. Seeing how he is suffering in the hospital bed, two weeks ago, she changed the prayer to let grandpa go to heaven. God listened to the simple prayer of a child.

I will miss him very much.

Ah Jon (Jonathan)

August 11, 2008

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親愛的外公:

很多年前,當姐姐和我還住在波士頓大舅家時,有一天我們倆在後院的樹林中散步,您突然問我:“路是從哪里來的?”當時我想不出來,您就說:“路是人走出來的!”這一句話,我到現在記得一清二楚,您對我的影響也如這句話這麽深。

你如果回頭看您所走出來的路,就會看到那條路是多麽美。起初,那條路是滿艱苦的,從小父母就去世了,妹妹還曾經買到別人家,您也唯讀到初職,可是您沒有因此而埋恨上帝,一直到今天,無情的世界也沒打碎您對上帝的忠心。

更值得感謝上帝的事,他給您一個美好的恩賜,那就是“愛心”。您天天把主所賜給您的愛心,分享給您周圍的每一個人,每當我回高雄時,就看到許多各種各樣的人用行動來見證出您所對他們的愛心。您的朋友可真多啊!他們不是載您出去玩,就是請您吃飯,有些人一大早就坐在客廳陪著您,有錢沒錢的,有地位沒地位的,大家都尊敬您關心您。難怪您多麽不想離開高雄,因爲您在那裏不知道付出了多少心血、多少關懷,一直到現在,當您的朋友心情不好,做錯了事,或是需要找人傾訴心事,他們第一個想到的就是您,您瞭解別人的心情,也能用愛心來體會它們當時的感受,您知道該說什麽、該做什麽。人際關係是最複雜的,可是您卻處理得很好。

最近您心情不好時,常常會自怨,爲什麽活了快八十年,卻好像覺得別的阿公都比自己有錢,也能用他們的錢來幫助兒女,有時候您覺得這一生沒做任何轟轟烈烈的大事。我聽了常常會很傷心,因爲在我的眼裏,沒有任何有錢有成就的阿公能比得上我這位偉大的阿公,您永遠是我愛我尊敬的阿公,也是我的好榜樣。

兩年前,阿媽突然去世,我心裏有好多話要說給她聽,可惜已經太遲了。這次您的中風警告我,上帝什麽時候要提我們上天家,我們都不知道,所以趁您還健康時,我要跟您說一聲我愛您,我尊敬您!

恭祝

生日快樂



皙彰 敬上

(寫於1992年)



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