If you haven’t met my grandfather, then you might not understand my family or me. I’d like to think there’s a bit of my grandfather in me. His impression on my father is undeniable. If anything, I want to say my family is special. We’re exceptionally close; no doubt from my grandfather’s influence.
If you haven’t met my grandfather, you haven’t met one of the most patient people in the world. I’ve have never seen him upset, never heard him raise his voice. He’s the most gentle I know. An engineer, his house is full of objects he’s remade/improvised, because he can. My mother would tell me I was like him: that I am patient and worked well with my hands. He and my grandmother raised my mother and two uncles. They’ve all moved from Taiwan and live in the US. When he was over 60 years old, he learned English and became a US citizen.
If you haven’t met my grandfather, you haven’t noticed how physically unimposing he is. He has juvenile onset diabetes. When he was looking to marry my grandmother, her parents were concerned about his frailty. It took a family friend to convince my grandmother’s parents that he would be a good healthy husband. He’s been healthy enough to be around to give me memories since I’ve been very young. I remember his house in Taiwan: multilevel with a thin stairway and his shop on the bottom. I remember him taking my siblings and cousins, as children, out during the summers to visit the St. Petersburg Pier, to see the movies; buying candy and toys. In elementary school, I wrote report on how awesome he is.
His health has caught up with him now. He’s diabetes and failing healthy has caught up with him now. He’s been getting dialysis, but his kidneys are in complete failure. A month ago, his food tube stop working completely and he wasn’t able to get food to his stomach. One of his lungs has collapsed.
My grandfather’s faith in God and belief in Christ is unquestionable. He’s been involved in worship and bible study as long as I can remember. That influence can be seen in our entire family.
If you never get the change to meet my grandfather Jui-Lin Peter Hsieh, let me tell you the two things I’ve learned from him are faith and family.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:38-39).
On August 8th, at 8pm, my grandfather passed with peace at his home in Seminole, with nearly his entire surviving family around him. He had just been discharged from the hospital for hospice care the day before. He had talk about how ‘uncomfortable’ he had been feeling, but unable to pinpoint any particular location of pain. His body was so tired.
A memorial service was held at my uncle’s church the evening of August 10th. Rather than having anyone speaking on behalf of my grandfather, his 7 grandchildren spoke. It was a beautiful hour of laughter and tears. My grandfather’s younger brother and nephew were able to make it to the service. The memories we (the grandchildren) shared all spoke his is faith, demeanor, patience and subtle humor.
My family found a beautiful plot. My grandfather wished to be buried in Florida (rather than Taiwan), where he felt most of the family would be. On August 16th, his urn was interred.
Please keep my grandmother and family in your thoughts as we all move forward.