The Light in Her Eyes

Posted By on August 5, 2013

Yesterday we brought our two older boys to see grandma Jean. They were not enthusiastic, they’ve never really known her except for some brief visits where she would ask them how old they were and comment on how big they’ve grown. But they do know that she is their last living great grandparent and they may not see her again. So, somewhat reluctantly, they came with us.

She was asleep on a recliner with the Cartoon Network on.

“Should we wake her?” Cameron whispered.

“No, let’s just sing to her.” I suggested and turned off the TV. We surrounded her.

“Starlight, Star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.

I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills, I love the fir trees, I love the daffodils.

I love the fireside, when the lights are low… boom dee ah da, boom dee ah da, boom dee ah da, boom dee ah dah. 

Starlight, Star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight…”

After a minute or so, she opened her eyes and looked at us. Her stare was piercing.

“We love you grandma.” I said.

“I love you too.” She mumbled in reply, the words unmistakable. The quickness of her response surprised me and stung my eyes.

The only part of her body that seemed to be under her control was her eyes. She stared deeply into each of our eyes. We sang several more songs as we sat around her.

“Should we get going soon?” I asked as I started to get up. Two of her fingers tightened slightly around my hand.

She continued to look at me. So we stayed. “Do you want me to turn the television back on?” I asked almost ridiculously.

“Mom, no.” Jing Wen said quickly. He was kneeling on the floor right beside her face. They looked at each other for some time, not speaking. Then I noticed tears streaming down his face, one after another. My heart swelled.

We’ve made many visits in the past, but these recent ones, to me, have been the most poignant and potent. Gone are the conversations of what we are doing and how things are going. In it’s place are moments of silently and purposefully looking into each other’s eyes, basking in each other’s inner light. Time seems to stand still. There is no judgements or distractions, just pure being, presence and love. During these moments, I feel more connected to Cameron’s grandmother than I have ever been. It is when I feel the most mutual understanding, which usually leaves me in tears of joy and sadness.

I’ve never shared these thoughts with Jing Wen. But I can guess, this was one of his most memorable visits too.

Upon departure, we all gave great grandma a hug and a kiss. “We love you grandma.” I said again.

“I love you too.” She replied, her mouth barely moving. Her eyes, steady, lingered on each of us and her cheek twitched. Her eyes told me she was smiling. We walked toward the door and she followed us with her eyes until we were out of sight.

I don’t know if we’ll see grandma again like this. But I can say that she was one of the most beautiful people I have ever met in my life. Reminding me, in her last days on Earth what is truly important.

Namaste to you too grandma. The light in me sees and honors the light in you.

About The Author

I am a Chinese-American mother of three boys, parenting with the traditions worth keeping from the East and West. I continue to learn new ways of raising a family and myself.

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