Zhang Lijia

Celebrity author Zhang Lijia went recently to her home town Nanjing and recalls the found memories of the place where her grandma used to live when she was alive. Her memories and a her eulogy to her grandma at Zhang Lijia’s weblog.

Zhang Lijia’s eulogy from 13 years ago:

One thing I must mention is her good looks. In her youth, grandma was stunningly beautiful with a perfect oval shaped face where two lovely dimples danced as she smiled, ever so readily. When my sister and I saw her old photos, we always felt sorry that some of her beauty had not passed down to us! Even when she was old, she aged with grace. By the time she passed away, her skin was still smooth and her hair was mostly black. And she was famously clean and tidy. I am very glad she went as a neat person, though worn and thin. The doctor warned there could be some unpleasant discharges. But there was none, no mess, not even bed sores, although she was bed-ridden for a long time.

Despite what she had gone through in life, the war, the ‘Rape of Nanjing’ in particular and turbulent personal life, grandma always felt she was a lucky person. Like many people from her generation, she had this amazing ability to take suffering without bitterness. She pinned her hopes on us three children. Now, we all turned out fine. My sister Huang Weijia has a fairly important job at the local government and she is driven around everywhere; my brother Zhang Xiaoshi works at a bank and recently passed his exam as economist; I myself work as a journalist, a profession I love and have dreamed of. And we are all married with kids. Though the second child, I was the last one to have a child of my own. One year ago, when I returned home to show off my one month old daughter May, grandma was absolutely thrilled. She confessed to me: “I really thought you two could not do it! You never know about a foreigner. Now, my heart is at ease.”

In grandma’s last hours, all the family members in four generations gathered around to send her off. The Buddhist chanting music was played day and night. Always a non-practice believer, she formally converted to Buddhism in the last six months of her life After she had left so peacefully, my brother’s Buddhist friends came to chant to release her soul from purgatory. It was very touching as they sat chanting the same mantra through the whole night without stopping, amituofu, amituofu, amituofu… Being such a good person all your life, grandma, I am sure you will be living blissfully in heaven. In this world, you’ve done everything you could, leaving no regrets. And there is no unfulfilled wish, is there? Please go well, my good grandma.

More at Zhang Lijia’s weblog
More on Zhang Lijia at Storify.

Zhang Lijia is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request.

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