Last night my maternal grandmother, SHIN Joung Nam, passed away. She was 91.
To me, she was always 할머니 – “Halmoni”, Korean for “grandma”.
There’s so many memories.
Watching her squatting down on the floor making kimchi.
Always offering me corn tea to drink.
Spending summers at the Pine Park Apartments in Omaha (which they managed), with her, my uncle, aunts, cousins. Such a silly time.
“Ha-mi, go be-bo” – which was “Halmoni, take me to the basement”. Apparently when I was a small child, it’s something I always said to her and wanted to do with her.
Of course, when I was small enough, she would carry me on her back, piggy-back. “Ah-bu-bah”.
Every year, receiving our blessing on New Years Day. And a little gift of money. I remember that first time I went from $20 to $50: it meant I was finally getting older and not really a child any more. 🙂 Oh, and the ox tail “new years” soup that she would make each year.
Of course, always sneaking me gifts and other things. Especially food and treats.
Being at her house, and always smiling at the propane heater and how she always kept a tea pot on top of it.
When I was getting ready to go off to college, she took me to the Korean market and bought me a little 4-cup rice cooker to ensure I had rice to eat in my dorm room. 🙂
Her coming to my wedding, and the first time she met my “soon-to-be-bride” my older sister introducing them and encouraging my bride to “go on…say it..” and the laughter shared at my bride speaking her first Korean words to my grandmother.
And even tho her English was broken and my Korean horrible, there was always one clear thing that came through:
“John-a, I love you.”
I can hear her voice right now, saying that to me. She said it so much, how can I not hear it?
Seeing her smile. Hearing her laugh. I will always treasure.
I love you 할머니