In Loving Memory of Po-Po's Hands

 Po-Po prepping Dou Ban Yu (Fermented Bean Fish)

Po-Po prepping Dou Ban Yu (Fermented Bean Fish)

It’s been a little over a month since Po-Po passed away. I still feel her aliveness pulsating through my body and touching everything I do, everywhere I go, all the time. Sometimes I wish I could confine my memories to Los Angeles, where she lived. I wish I could quarantine the heartbreak and the longing. Except last year, she made an impressive cross-country flight to Brooklyn for my 30th birthday. So naturally, my favorite Brooklyn stomping grounds reverberate with Po-Po’s chuckle and smiles. By the way, have I ever told you about her smile? It’s like she had to choose between keeping her eyes open or flashing her wonderful grin.

Po-Po’s smile was infectious, but it was nothing compared to her hands. While the rest of her body was weathered and wrinkled by old age, her hands remained taut, smooth, strong, her nails perfectly manicured. (DIY of course.) Her hands betrayed the age she felt inside - definitely twenty-five. Po-Po’s beautiful, forever-youthful hands did the most extraordinary things. There wasn’t a jar she couldn’t open, a wok she couldn’t balance, a needle she couldn’t thread, or a sweater she couldn’t knit.

The last time we hung out, she was already very sick. Talking had become exhausting. Eating? Forget about it. Our days together were mostly spent in silence. The night I had to leave LA, I wanted a moment alone with her. There we were, sitting in the back of my uncle’s Scion in the dark. The unnecessarily dramatic speech I prepared suddenly seemed awkward and contrived. How do these things usually go in the movies again? Instead, I let her labored breathing do most of the talking. When the moonlight decided to cast its glow on Po-Po’s hands, I grabbed them and held on. When her hands squeezed mine back tightly, she did something better than talking. Her hands gave me the most unforgettable and beautiful love I have ever felt, and that I will feel forever in everything I do, everywhere I go, all the time.