Walter Wu
198,591 views| 198  Posts

Sarah Sun (March 21, 1912 to December 24, 2010)

Tonight, my 98 year old grandmother died.

Back in October, she had a bad fall and suffered a compression fracture in her spine (T12 vertebrae). 
After that, she was in constant agony.  Pain medications only seemed to make her sleepy, but she would wake up regularly from the pain.  My aunts and my mother came into town to help my other aunt care for my grandmother -
she even needed help getting out of bed.  Prior to the fall, she could
walk around and even climb up the stairs.  The fall did some irreparable damage.

Three days ago, she was so weak, she couldn't even sit up nor keep her head straight, so she went to the hospital.  Apparently, she was going to the bathroom too much and ended up having a shortage of sodium (people who sweat too much have this happen to them too).  When they gave her a different pain killer at the hospital, she ended up having
hallucinations, so they changed to something else, which still made her sleepy.  I prayed to God that He keep her alive just a bit longer, so I could see her again.  I knew that was a selfish request, but I asked for it any way.

Yesterday after work, I went to the hospital to see her.  She was sleeping most of the time, but would periodically wake up wincing and crying in pain.  At that point, I realized it was time to let her go.  She was happy to see me and smiled.  She called me "Waisunzi" ( 外孫子) andsaid she was "proud" of me.  Last night, I prayed to God that He release her of her pain.

Tonight, I went to see her.  Again, just seeing her in pain was heart
wrenching.  It turned out that she was having a urinary tract infection, so they removed the foley catheter and were giving her some
antibiotics.  My aunt was there and told me that my grandmother didn't
feel like eating today.  The nurse had a problem with the IV, but called another nurse and that one got one going for her (for the antibotics).  Again, my grandmother was happy to see me, smiled, and held my hand.  At the end of visiting hours, we said "goodbye" and "goodnight".  The hospital staff was going to give my grandmother something to help her breath (she was getting some congestion built up in the lower part of her lungs).

After I got back to my house, my aunt called me and told me the hospital contacted her to let her know that grandma had passed away...  My aunt also told me that earlier that day, grandma told my aunt, "I'm dying".

I wanted to write up a tribute to my grandmother.  She is from Tianjin ( 天津), a large industrial city that is about a 2 hour drive outside of Beijing.  In her youth, she grew up in the Qing Dynasty ( 清朝)  (when China was ruled by the Manchurians (满族) - the time when men had braided pigtails ( 辮子)and women had the bound feet ( 纏足)).  My grandmother was subjected to foot binding, but being the sneaky "tom boy" person that she was, she would undo the bindings and go running around.  Of course she got in trouble when she was caught, but shortly afterwards, she no longer had to keep her feet bound.  My grandmother also lived in the time when the Japanese invaded China, and she (with my grandfather) fled all the way to Chongqing (重慶) in Sichuan (四川) province (a distance of about 1900km or 1180miles) to escape from the Japanese.   Later, after the Japanese surrendered, she went back to Tianjin, but soon afterwards, China was thrown into civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists.  Once again, my grandmother (now with 3 kids) and my grandfather had to flee, but this time they went to Taiwan.  They lived in Taiwan for many years and then came over to the USA, settling first in North Carolina, then Ohio, and retired back in North Carolina.

Here are a few funny stories about my grandmother.

She lived in Ohio for many years and thus was a big Ohio State Buckeye
fan.  Once when riding on a plane, the pilot had announced the the
University of Michigan's football team (that's Ohio State's arch rival) just won a game, the fans aboard the plane cheered.  Shortly afterwards, my grandmother said out loud, "Poor Ohio State!" (she told me the plane went silent after that comment!).

My grandmother disliked violence in movies, but I showed her the Korean movie "Musa" (the Warrior).  Afterwards, I asked her how she liked it and she said she did like it.  I asked, "but what about the violence?" (the movie takes place in the Ming Dynasty about 1300 AD - has lots of sword fights).  She replied, "back then, things were violent!".  She once told me her favorite time in China's history was the Ming Dynasty.

When I lived with her for a few years, she would always wait up for me to get back to the house.  Sometimes I went back to the office and worked until around 11:00pm.  She was such a worry wart about me.  Whenever I got sick, she'd tell me to go the the doctor.  One time I said, "I just need some rest, if I'm still sick tomorrow, I'll go visit the doctor.".  She replied, "Tomorrow?  Tomorrow will be too late!".  I think that was one of the times I caught bronchitis.

She would really "get into" the movies that she watched.  One time we were watching "Child's Play" (I like to watch some horror movies).  Near the end of the movie, when the victims are being pursued by the killer Chucky doll, my grandmother actually yelled at the TV, "Run!!! Get out of there!!!".

Goodnight and Goodbye Grandma Sun.  I miss you already, but I am glad that you are no longer in so much pain.

over 9 years ago 0 likes  0 comment  0 shares


Learn More

Languages Spoken
english, mandarin
Location (City, Country)
United States
Member Since
August 18, 2007

Walter Wu on Social Media