The Meaning of Great and Grand

Jeremy Tio
Son of Helen Tio, Fung Hung Lan ˇ¦69

Often the great and grand people of the world are associated with conquerors, titans, royalty : the powerful. In most worldly aspects, great grand mother was none of these things but she is most deserving of such a title and our greatest respect.

Without a doubt, she was a very special person. Being born in the beginning of the century (1906), as a farmer, she had little material wealth or status, losing her father at an early age, and losing her husband soon after marriage. Still, what she lacked in youth she earned in maturity, sustaining and serving her only daughter, her six grandchildren, her thirteen great grandchildren, her extended family and our dear friends. As a result, she always has a sense of peace and contentment; a bench mark of a well lived, long life.

Although outgoing in her duties to her family, she seemed quite reserved in her personal life. As a result, not all of us knew her in a very personal way. Recently, she gave me a small necklace, a piece of the small amount of jewelry she has ever owned. Written on the necklace is a poetic verse about the moon being perfect and heart being pure. At the time, I did not appreciate it, priding myself on being too practical for baubles. I believe that her intention was to teach me an important lesson, by revealing herself in a special way: A way that should be shared with all that she has ever cared for, that one so ancient, over almost a century of change, hardship, and pain could sustain the heart of a romantic.

Still, it is difficult to accept the fact that I canˇ¦t see her anymore, to hear her simile and greeting, a warmth that transcended all age, language or culture barriers. When I was young, I used to live with her, she was my ˇ§nannyˇ¨. I have a lot of fond memories of her, such as her zeal when watching professional wrestling on TV. Despite her gentleness, she had the resilient and sharp character of a fighter. Throughout her youth and middle life, she toiled endlessly with little in return. She did not give up. Even in an advanced age that some of us will never know, she endured the pain and failures of her body, with a clear mind. And in her last days, none can deny her grace or the strength of her heart.

While we mourn the fact that a most humble, gentle and giving person has left this world, we are most fortunate to have known her. Three generation of her children are in debt to her generosity. Truly, she has set a shining example of service to family, humility, courage and love to any one who really knew her. We should realize that these qualities and values, so scarce in our age, were carried for many years by great grandmother. May we renew ourselves with such virtues, as we celebrate the time ˇ§A Bakˇ¨ spent with us and reflect on what it means to be Great and Grand.

By Great grandson Jeremy Tio