This summer, I lost someone very near and dear to me- my grandmother. Or as we call her in Indonesian, my Ibu. While I want to write a more in-depth and “serious” article about the emotional experience of losing her, the mental conflict being thousands of miles away, and the overall disconnect I experienced, I don’t have that strength in me just yet. Instead, I’m going to try to keep things light by giving her a shout-out for all of the incredible things she’s given me- and she’s given me a lot. While my parents were always very much involved with my life, when we lived back home in Indonesia and were very, very broke, she raised me while they both worked. I can confidently say that the majority of my being is attributed to her, so this one’s for you Ibu. These are the things that you’ve taught or given me that I’ll carry with me until the day I see you again.
1. Having My Head in the Clouds
While some people may consider her beliefs and ways of thinking lofty, one of the things I loved most about my Ibu was the way she led her life. She followed her heart and spiritual beliefs instead of her head and logic. She said she could predict when it would rain and whether someone would give birth to a girl or boy. She believed that dreams were messages from God and she believed in angels and souls. Speaking of souls, she believed in a soulmate and taught me to always look at a man’s hands as a way to determine whether or not he was good and right for me. Because of her, I say the phrase, “It’s a sign omg,” a little too much and I live a little lofty-headed myself. Because of her, I too think that life’s a little too short to always be looking at it pragmatically.
2. Playing Hostess and The Four Kid “Curse”
If you know me at all, you know that I love playing the hostess and caring for people- so does my momma. We both get it from Ibu. I can’t remember a time when Ibu’s house wasn’t loud, lively, and filled with friends and family. She was born with the need to care for others. She was always the one to host family reunion parties and attended to everyone’s needs until they felt at home. In Indonesia, we don’t really call before visiting. Because of this, we knew how loved Ibu was because she would have a visitor pop in every day to say hi and to catch up. She especially LOVED cooking for others and making sure all her guests were well fed. Now, if you ever show up to my apartment or my family home, my momma and I are going to make sure to do the same- to make sure you leave with a full stomach.
I think this need to care for others is also reflective of the way that Ibu had four kids. The way she raised them must have been so effortless and loving because it inspired my mom to do the same. Because of both of these women, not only do I have insane maternal instincts, I too want four kids and that image of a big, loud, and lively house. Ibu is the epitome of a wonderful mother and as young as I am, I hope to be the same.
3. Looking at Life like it’s a Rare and Beautiful Thing
By now, you should’ve gotten an idea of how big of a heart my grandmother had. She was kind and caring and loved life even though she didn’t have the easiest one. Before my parents were able to achieve the Indonesian dream of leaving Indonesia, going to America, and making enough money to support their families, Ibu never really had much and lived a pretty simple life. She’s never traveled outside of Indonesia, never ate out at fancy restaurants, or splurged on luxurious shoes and clothes. Every ounce of luxury and happiness for her came from her family, friends, and the day-to-day “beauties of life”. By telling me to look at the details within things I find mundane, she showed me how beautiful and wonderful this world truly is. I still appreciate how intricate a butterfly’s wings are, how vibrantly colorful flowers are, and how luxurious the smell of coffee is. While she knew and lived through strife, she persevered through it by treating life like a gift and a lesson. That’s how I aim to look at it as well.
No matter how long or detailed I get, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to capture how kind and loving she truly was. She used to be my rock and my role model, now she’s my guardian angel and motivation to keep going and growing.
If you recently experienced a loss, one, I truly am sorry and you have all my love and prayers. Two, know that it does get better with time and that the best way to begin to move on is different for everyone. I’m beginning by writing this article. Yes, I shed multiple tears throughout it, but I know that it’s a step. As always, I hope y’all enjoyed reading this week’s article and I’ll see you in the next one.
All my love,