Monday, August 13, 2012


A red rose grows in Sacramento. My grandmother now lives in heaven in a happy home with my grandfather. Her neighbors are distant white clouds, floating. She is in my heart and smiles in my dreams. I am a little boy again and she is here to hold my hand. I can feel her diamond wedding ring inside my palm. Her hand is warm and smooth, like sand on a perfect shoreline in paradise. She raised three women, one is my mother, and loved her seven grandchildren. Three girls and four boys building sand castles with bright colored plastic shovels and buckets. My aunts and uncles and parents look from afar. I do not know what "I love you" in Chinese translates to, but I am sure she said it to my grandfather while gazing into his eyes, behind his gold-rimmed spectacles. I have his infectious laugh and jawline, and he has all my love. He now shares it with my grandmother in a place I cannot see. He passed away in 2001 when I was just a boy, not knowing that death is permanent and that it can cause a hole in the heart. The next night I cried myself to sleep because I realized I wasn't going to see him in the morning. I woke up with a wet pillowcase. There were flowers printed on the sheets.

A goodbye is a room without doors. Do you know the feeling of a bird when it is set free from its cage? I do not but I assume that flying in the sky must be wonderful. It makes me smile when I think of my grandmother soaring through the skies holding my grandfather's hand, together as one, liquid stars and illuminating galaxies. They are together again. Where are we? she asks. With me, he answers. This is gorgeous, she says. I know, he says, I know.

At least I know there is hope.

She is beautiful. A teardrop ran down her face like a waterfall when I kissed her the last time I saw her in March of this year. I have never seen her cry before. Watching someone you care about weep is a difficult thing to deal with. But saying goodbye to someone you love is a mile ahead. To say the least, I needed a box of tissue on the airplane back to New York that afternoon.

Love is trapped in a box. Family is like gold found in the bottom of the ocean. My grandmother's voice echoes through a hallway full of angels. There is no pain, only what is left from the leaves of the lemon tree from her backyard. There are memories. There are promises. There is nothing else left to feel.

My grandmother walks away. I cannot see her face. The sun is setting. Her shadow is the shape of a dove. I am still a child in her arms. She is free.

– dw.