Visits from my Grandmother

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I loved it when Grandma visited from China. When she was with us, our entire house seemed more pleasant, probably because she babysat my little brothers and me while our parents relaxed. From bringing treats like red bean pastries to classic red envelopes, Grandma never ceased to put smiles on all our faces. In fact, she gave so wholeheartedly with a demeanor radiating sheer kindness that it took me a while to figure out it was actually very taxing for her. When I was old enough to fully understand she taught piano for a living in a tiny apartment in Beijing with only 4 students and suffered from a shattered knee as well as a blind eye, accepting gifts from her suddenly became heartbreaking for me. I felt like I committed a felony every time she gave me something. And when I looked into her good eye one night and innocently asked why she did all she did, she said, “Because Waipo love you,” before kissing my forehead.

I wept silently whenever she left to go back to China, crying that her trips were too short. It truly hurt to watch her limp through security on her walker and wave goodbye to us one last time before disappearing into the sea of people. To think that it could be the last time I ever laid my eyes on Grandma again tore at my heartstrings. The worst part was that I couldn’t give her anything to take back. She didn’t expect or accept anything in return for her seemingly infinite kindness. I was stuck, only able to receive what was handed to me with a smile, no matter how much it tormented me. I soon realized with every visit came a price to pay, another trophy of grief thrown on top of the cumulative pile.

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Unable to let this problem keep eating at me, I was compelled to do something as a way to thank grandparents everywhere. When I grew older, I started giving my own classical music recitals at retirement homes. I hoped that even though she was across the globe, I was still able to thank Grandma for everything she did for me by taking the opportunity to reciprocate her kindness towards others. An individual grew into a group as I recruited peers who sympathized with my cause. I founded Performing with Purpose, a group performing benefit concerts to raise money and supplies for marginalized women, displaced refugees, and others with struggles to overcome. In the end, Grandma has left me with more than just a few memorable experiences. She gave me valuable perspectives to life through her selfless actions. She imparted in me the gift of giving, sparking my own desire to become a source of infinite kindness. By emphasizing generosity, she has taught me to value serving others. But most importantly, she demonstrated that every individual can contribute to improve the world, whether directly or by influencing others, no matter their disabilities or handicaps.

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Visits from my Grandmother. (2022, Jul 17). Retrieved from

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