Chinese Christian Herald Crusades UK

青年園地: Grandma

文/Andy Lee



It will be ten years in June since my dad died of cancer. It’s now been six days since my grandma died of the same disease. The feelings are still raw for me, but not as raw as for my mum and her brother and five sisters. It all happened so quickly, which seems to be increasingly common now – “My estimation is that she has a few weeks left. I’m really sorry” says the consultant. A few weeks?! That’s barely enough time for the reality of the situation to sink in before the necessary discussions around funeral plans and final wishes.










It did give Lisa and me the chance to take the day off work and drive a few hours to visit her and grandad. It’s so hard seeing an already physically frail person become even more so due to the cancer. But she was strong. Like, stubbornly strong. She would make her way to the bathroom upstairs unaided. She did it one small half a step at a time. But she did it. I can understand a particular Chinese dialect, Hakka, because of her. I never did learn to speak it. I guess I felt like I had to raise my voice to do it, and I was a quiet kid growing up. But she could understand me in Cantonese anyway, and that was good enough for her.



One of my fondest and most peculiar memories of her was when we were in the garden. She caught a spider and then offered it to me. I had no idea what she wanted me to do with it, but I don’t think that if I had known it would have changed my answer, “Eugh argh eeeek aaaah”. (That’s in English by the way.) She then pulled all the legs off it, and plopped the body into her mouth. I think it took me a while to get over the shock of what I saw. I don’t remember what happened next. It was all a blur after that.








Another time, at grandma’s house I remember I desperately needed a number 2. (Have you ever head the phrase turtle head in that context? I’ll let you figure it out). Grandad must have been in the bathroom because there’s no other explanation for what I did next. I remember just dropping what felt like a log right in the middle of the kitchen floor. Grandma came in and of course freaked out and shouted at me. Remember she was speaking Hakka so it was extra loud. I don’t remember what happened next. But perhaps I was just getting her back for making me watch her chomp down that spider. The most likely explanation, though, was that I was just an innocent six year old boy that needed a little poo.



Unfortunately, the consultant’s prognosis wasn’t very accurate. But you can’t really blame him. The human body is so individual and unique, no two people are created alike. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of factors that determine a person’s lifespan. Such is the beautiful creation of the human body. So from weeks, it turned into days. And then she breathed her last.












I shared the last hour of her life with her. She was unresponsive at this point, so I just lay my hand on her and thanked her for her love and for the legacy she leaves behind. I gave thanks for her life and her love. The hardest part for me wasn’t her death itself, but wanting to know whether she came to know the God that knows and loves her. I prayed for her. My mum had tried to share the gospel with her, but she was hard of heart when it came to believing in Jesus. And so, when her body gave up, as her husband, her children and her grandchildren mourn and grieve, I’m asking God, “So what happens to Grandma now?”



Some members of the family are following a Chinese tradition – Chinese paper money will be burnt in the belief that the properties of the items being burnt, in this case money, will be transferred to the afterlife for the spirits of the deceased to use. The tradition has been updated over time, whereby any item or paper replicas of items can also be burnt, including passports to be able to travel, TVs to watch, books to read, and even food to eat. It seems clear to those that take part in this ceremony, then, that they know where grandma is (the afterlife), and fascinating in fact, that the living can still affect the dead in such a way. But as I observe the planning and the discussions around this, I can’t help but feel like there’s a big element of hoping that this works, rather than the assurance that it will. Tradition by its very definition isn’t necessarily based on truth but originates from some special significance or symbolic meaning. I encourage you to respect the traditions of those you love, but at the same time to acknowledge the significance of what taking part in certain traditions means to you. Sometimes it may not be as important as a life and death issue. Sometimes it is even more important than that – an after-life and an after-death issue.



May grandma now be in a place that is forever free from pain and suffering. A place where she loves and is loved for all eternity.





文/Andy  Lee



今年六月將會是爸爸因患癌病逝世十週年,不幸的是,外婆也同樣死於癌症,至今已有6天了。我內心的傷痛猶新,但遠不及媽媽和她哥哥及五個姐姐的深切感受。一切都發生得太快了,而這現象似乎越來越普遍。顧問醫生說:「真抱歉,我估計她只有幾個星期的壽命。」 幾個星期?!我們還來不及接受這個殘酷的事實,更別說急須籌辦葬禮和徵詢外婆的臨終願望了。



然而,這總算讓我和太太莉莎有機會請了一天假,開了幾個小時的車去探望外婆外公。目睹一個已經體力不支的人被癌症摧殘得更加瘦弱,心裡是多麼難受。但她很堅強,固執地拒絕別人幫助,自行到樓上的洗手間。 每次一小半步地,終於做到了。因為她,我學會了聽懂客家話,但從未學會怎樣說。我覺得說客家話必須提高聲浪,而我卻自小愛靜,幸而外婆聽得懂我的廣東話,她也就不介意了。









我對外婆一個最美好、最奇特的回憶是: 一次當我們在花園裡的時候,她抓到一隻蜘蛛,然後遞給我。當時我不知道她想我把它怎樣,倘若我知道,我的回答也不會改變: 「哎呀……咦……唉!」 (順便一提,這句是英語。)接着,她扯掉蜘蛛所有的腿,然後把整個蜘蛛的身體撲通一聲地塞進嘴裡。我過了一段時間才驚魂稍定,也忘了接下來發生了什麼事,只是一片模糊。



另外有一次,我在外婆家裡,突然覺得按捺不住肚子,在廚房裡「就地解決」。 當時外公一定是在洗手間,否則我絕對不會這樣做!外婆進來看見,嚇呆了,向我大聲疾呼。別忘記:她當時是講客家話,所以格外響亮。我不記得接下來發生什麼事了。也許我是報復她那次強逼我看她使勁地咀嚼那蜘蛛。不過,最可能的解釋是:我當時只是一個天真無邪的六歲小男孩,需要一點點「方便」。








不幸的是,顧問醫生的診斷並非很準確,但也難怪他: 每個人的身體都是如此獨特,上帝創造人,沒有兩個是完全一樣的,一定有數百甚至數千個因素決定一個人的壽命長短,而這也就是人受造的奇妙之處。不到數週,實際上只是數天,外婆便呼吸了最後的一口氣。



我陪伴她度過了生命的最後一個小時。這時她已經沒有反應,我的手按著她,感謝她對我們的愛和她所留下的一切。我為她的生命和她的愛獻上感恩。令我最難過的,並非是她的離世,而是不知道她是否已認識那位認識她、愛她的上帝。我為她祈禱。媽媽曾經試圖與她分享福音,但談到信耶穌時,她就是硬着心腸。現在她過世了,當她的丈夫、孩子和孫兒哀傷悼念她時,我問上帝: 「現在外婆會怎樣呢?」