The other day mom told me her decision to move my grandma to her sister’s house in Shashi, her hometown 5 hours away from here. “What about her apartment?” I was in shock.
“Oh, you know, we will back out as soon as possible.” I know mom was trying to calm me down.
I couldn’t speak for a while. Grandma got the nicest apartment among all of my relatives. Not only I enjoyed her big open living room with all kinds of sun lights fleeing from her bright balcony everyday, her 3 bedrooms and a small library contained 3 generations of memories. There it has my childhood memories, the little home works, and children books I read to elementary schools textbooks and tests. Grandma kept my elementary school grade reports, my study table was organized the way I left before going to America when I was 12. Among tons of stuff she kept from my stay with her at her place she also kept baby clothes of her grandchildren, gifts from her children and grandchildren, books from 30-40 years ago back from and shortly after the Cultural Revolution (where most books were destroyed during the Revolution), stuff we haven’t used for years such as bamboo beds before the introduction of air conditioners, umbrellas me and other grandchildren used during our elementary school times, old pedal sewing machine, record players, among others….
Ah memories… as I wondered around from room to room, looking through each item, trying to judge whether I should salvage each from its final erasure… Slowly I absorbed my childhood memory, my memory, my family’s memory – everything is slowly going away. This is probably the last time I will be here, with these things still around here. Next time, this house won’t be ours, all these things will be gone to somewhere, and most importantly, my grandma’s shadow, along with her generous smiles, will be forever gone from here. It felt like saying a goodbye to every history of my mom’s family behind.
“There are too many junks to keep around. Try to pick the best, and your aunt will throw away the rest.” Mom reminded me as I pondered.
2 years ago, her youngest son demanded money from her as she was growing old. My grandma doesn’t have money for him, “what about the house? you could sell the house.”
“The house is actually my daughters after my death.” Grandma told him. My parents bought out the deed of the house so she could spend her later years in peace. Because of the deed ownership, My grandma decided to let my parents have the house in case she passes away.
“No, I’m your son, I should have a share of this place.” He refused to believe that my mom has bought the house and he does not have any share of the property. He wants money; he wants it now. For this problem he and his divorced wife fought for it ever since… “We want this house for our son. We will sell everything in this house to fund some money for his wedding. If you won’t let me in, I will break the lock after your death. My sister is in America anyway. No one gives a sh*t about me here anyways.”
When my grandma fell sick past July, we had to sell her apartment so my youngest uncle could get some money out of it. Fortunately, the new owner was nice enough to let us stay in here as long as my grandma is around. But my mom has to go back to America in a few days, so we arranged to send grandma to stay with one of her youngest sisters (who is even younger than my mother). Her sister told us if we are sending my grandma to stay with her, my grandma is not coming back again. “It’s too much work to move her here with the 5 hour ride… it’s not good for an elderly like her.”
Right now mom is trying to figure out what to pack for grandma’s final belongings; she is going through grandma’s closet right across from my grandma in her bed, “do you want this piece of jacket?” mom asked as she dragged out a brown piece of winter jacket.
…and I watcher grandma gently shook her head, fragile and helpless, what could she do? Will she get to wear them?
The last memory of her living room
library shelves already half empty with family members grabbing the best books left and right
Grandma’s bedroom with her wedding picture hanging above her bed and grandpa’s death picture hanging right across the bed
My mom’s side grandparents got married in the army. My grandpa picked up by the red army out of starvation, and my grandma too joined the army when she was a teenager…