I mourn the loss of a loved one I have come to know fondly as Nai-Nai, which means, grandmother.
She never married. Never had any children of her own. And yet, it is obvious for all to see, that her Presence and Absence were greatly felt…
…by the ones she loved.
In the 5 years that we’ve met, she’s often asked, “Kei Si Cham Cha, ah?”
In the Chinese culture, when an elder asks you that question, literally, it means, “When will you serve (me) tea?” But its more an expression of desire to see you married, and to be served tea during the wedding’s tea ceremony, so they too can share in the sweetness of your happiness.
Most of all, it is pretty much an open declaration that you are loved.
It is in this moment of coming together, to grieve and mourn for our beloved Nai-Nai, that I was told by Mama, that they too, had mourned the loss of me… I was stunned. Who is Nai-Nai and Mama, in relation to me?
Nai-Nai was the nanny of Mama, and she stayed on to become the nanny to Mama’s boys. And her boys were very good friends with this boy who stayed up the hill, but spent most of his time down the hill, at their home, doing what boys do best. They ate together, jammed together, fought together, laughed together, and through the years, grew up together.
Nai-Nai, Mama, Papa and the whole family, had embraced this boy from up the hill, like one of their own. When I came into the picture, I had not guessed, that I too, would come to be loved fiercely as one of their own.
After the break up, I learnt that the family had been heartbroken, along with me. And what they did to honour the sanctity of that loss, as I found out today, first from one of the boys, and then from Mama herself…
…silent me with Love.
I didn’t know what to say.
Except, a quiet thank you.
“The best feeling in the world is knowing your Presence and Absence both mean something to someone.”
In her own way, this is Nai-Nai’s final gift to me.
I guess at the end of my grandmother story, all I’m trying to say is:
Are you willing to go through a painful time of Loss, to discover a beautiful depth of Love? They are both from the opposite ends of the same rainbow. Your time of Loss, will eventually lead you to Love…
…Deeper, harder, stronger.
And sometimes, as Nai-Nai has so lovingly shown, Love is a Question.
“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb
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