My 92 year old grandmother has always been a great influence in my life. She used to take care of me when I was younger and she was still staying with my family. She has a kind, gentle smile which makes you want to talk to her when you see her. She speaks only Teochew but she can understand Chinese very well. As a form of respect, we try to converse with her in dialect. She is a very independent and strong willed lady as she always prepares her own food and does her own laundry. She never accepted any help from any others despite her old age.
A few years back, she suffered a minor stroke and lost control of one side of her body and her speech became slurred. After she was bedridden for a month in hospital, my uncle brought her to China to seek medical treatment. She came back during winter as it was too cold for her. She responded well to treatment and although she is unable to prepare her own meals like in the past, she is able to walk with the aid of a walking stick. I would accompany her for a stroll along her block on a weekly basis to exercise her legs.
My grandmother showed me, by her example, what it means to be resilient; never giving up after her stroke. She exercised her weakened body diligently as she did not want to be a burden to any of us. She valued the importance of education and despite never having a proper education herself, she learnt how to read and write Chinese. She constantly keeps herself updated on the latest happenings around the world through magazines and newspapers. She taught me the values of integrity and honesty. She taught my sisters and I to cherish what we have and protect our loved ones. She is and always will be influential in my life, as both role model and inspiration.
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