I mentioned a couple of days ago that today, the Spring Equinox, is also the day to celebrate the lives of our ancestors in my homeland. So I thought I would scribble a little about my grandfather today in his memory.
Actually, he has already made a couple of appearances. You may recall his debut role as the one who pays visits to my grandmother in her parallel universe, but there was another time, you ask? Well, if I tell you that his name has the Chinese character for chrysanthemum in it, would it ring a bell?
To tell you the truth, I do not know much about my grandfather. I lived thousands of miles away from him most of the time he was alive, and much to my regret, I never tried to get to know him at times when we were near. He was a quiet, serious-looking man who often sat in the living room with a glass of whiskey in his hand, and always favoured my big brother, his first grandson… as a child, I could not find a single aspect of him to like.
It was only years and years after he passed away that I started to find out a whole new side to him. He was a very virtuous man, always showing by action than words his fairness and honesty. He was a military veteran and I believe he suffered from PTSD, leading him to drink away his sorrows. He was a very old-fashioned Asian and patriarchal, and could not help but love my big brother the most. But that did not mean he loved me any less.
He was the first one to come see me after my birth, and he is one of my godfathers. He got me the most gorgeous set of presents on my first anniversary festivities. When I returned to homeland for a short stint to attend elementary school, he made sure I had everything I would ever need and possibly want so I could ease right in without feeling different.
I am finding these things out as my family and relatives share their memories of him with me – like dividing chrysanthemums, they are giving me bits and pieces of him so he lives on in me.
Maybe I can cultivate his virtues in me.
Maybe I can propagate his fair and honest ways to people around me.
Maybe I can transplant his overflow of love to others who need it.
I understand that chrysanthemums do better when they are divided in springtime once every few years. So I shall look forward to the day I divide away this chrysanthemum that was divided to me by my grandmother… but for a little while longer, I hope it won’t mind staying with me so I can get to know my grandfather a little more.