A Sad but Fond Farewell

Just yesterday my grandfather passed away peacefully in his sleep. He is Dad’s Dad and in Chinese we call him Goong Goong. I may or may not express this time in my own words, after some more time has passed but for now I would like to share this post written by my cousin Mandy. It is so beautifully written and captures some of my emotion and feeling during such a sad time.

Goong Goong would want us to be philosophical about this time; to look back on the good times have memories that last forever.

We will miss you Goong Goong. Say hello to Paw Paw (my grandmother) and I’m glad you are together once again.

Much love. Kimba xxx

Vale Goong Goong, by Amanda White (19 July 2010)

Today my grandfather passed away peacefully in his sleep. I knew it was on the horizon, and I had arranged to visit him this afternoon – I’m sad I didn’t get one last touch of his hand, but not angry – I’ve had plenty of great memories with him. My mum said that when she saw him yesterday – he wasn’t lucid and his spirit had left just a shell behind.

I had lunch with him and my parents and aunts and uncles two weeks ago – he remembered who I was, asked about how my husband was doing and was in good spirits. Of course, as usual when he escaped from the nursing home for lunch, he ate big! I can still remember him chewing and closing his eyes and smiling đŸ™‚ He did that often when we went out to eat – food that tasted great and wasn’t bland and lacking salt like the usual nursing home fare.

I think I have my love of great food from him and my grandmother. He loved to eat out – and eat out well, and my grandmother was a fantastic cook. My aunts and cousins have talked many times about how to replicate her delicious green beans, steamed egg or steamed potato.

Most of my cousins won’t know this – but our grandfather started his working life in China as an accountant – how funny that that particular trait would be passed on to me! He worked in a factory making clothing – helping decide how much material to order, calculating wastage and efficient methods of using material and the cost. It was such a prestigous position that at meal times, he sat up the front of the eating hall with the other management and executive personnel.

I suppose it was this accounting knowledge that made him such an astute businessman – first working at the original Paddy’s Markets in Chinatown, then in a corner store, a fruit & veggie business and a restaurant (Chinese of course!). It wasn’t just his skill – my grandmother (Paw Paw in Cantonese) was the puppetmaster – she remembered every birthday, organised his schedule and was a partner in his endeavours. I think he has been slightly lost without her all these years.

Goong Goong was a bargain hunter – and it wasn’t uncommon after Paw Paw passed away, to find towers of toilet paper purchased on special hidden away in a back room – he couldn’t resist a good deal!

I have a lifetime of great memories but that doesn’t seem to stop the tears from falling today.

When someone passes the wheel, we feel sad only for ourselves – for what is lost in our lives today. But I know deep down I am also happy, my grandparents will finally reunite and I know how badly my grandfather wanted that, how much he missed her all these years and felt lost without her. I hope they get to meet my lost child (and my grandmother’s lost children) in the afterlife and give them the love we couldn’t in this physical existence.

Love you Goong Goong,



  1. A very touching and beautiful tribute Kimberley. He sounds a fine man, and so loved. He truly was very blessed to have such a caring family. He’s left you all such wonderful memories of him too.

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