He was the first one who picked seashells with me. He found some on the beach especially for me.
He was the first one who taught me how to grow edible plants.
He was the first to ever encourage me, starting when I was very young. And he enjoyed watching me play when I was a child. A few years ago, when we were reflecting on the past, he told me “other kids were hesitant and afraid, but you climbed the monkey bars in the playground without fear.” I’m so touched that he remembered these little things about me from so long ago.
He was the first one who gave me a positive nickname. When I was a child, he called me “little steel bar” (小鋼條) because he said that I was so skinny, but very strong, always able to carry very heavy things to help others out.
He was the first one who told me, “You are a writer. You write better than I do.”
I have never received so many handwritten letters from anyone except from him; I believe he never received so many letters from anyone except from me too. Grandma told me that he liked to reread my letters, and he often shed tears after reading them. I keep all of his letters… I reread them too… they are the most precious treasures in my life… they are my comfort… but, I can’t read them all at once now because I know that it would be too overwhelming. I need to take my time to review all of his letters, photos, videos... and memories that we shared together, slowly, at a pace that would be healthy for me… If I find that it is still too overwhelming, I need to review them in a safe environment, with someone who is supportive and empathic.
Be it grief, trauma, phobia, depression, or other issues, managing psychological health involves self-awareness and gentle self-care. Healing takes time, and the treatment requires a steady, slow pace in order to be healthy and effective. Knowing your limits is also one of the very important components in healing.
I feel grateful that he wrote, “I am proud of you” in his letters… grateful for all the heartwarming compliments and encouraging statements that he said and wrote to me… grateful that he saw me achieving my dream, a career that I truly love… grateful that I was part of his life, and he is part of mine…
He was a very quiet person. He only spoke when he needed to, but he would speak quite a bit with someone he liked. He never used sarcasm. He always did a lot for others, but never bragged about his kindness—he was humble. Humility is such a beautiful quality.
He had so many wonderful qualities: he was very frugal, but very generous. He was very good at math, and he was very good at writing. He had beautiful handwriting, including calligraphy. He was intelligent and wise. Cooking for others was one of his greatest joys. He was a really good cook. He made the best wonton soup! He had a great fashion sense. He had a good sense of humour. He had very beautiful smiles.
He is one of the most loving, kind, genuine, patient, beautiful persons I have ever met in my life. He is the one who makes me feel proud of my roots.
A role model, the best grandfather I could ever ask for…
I miss him.
Affirmation: I enrich my life when I write about my grief, and review memories, photos, videos, letters, objects… one at a time, in a safe, supportive environment.