STORY 18 – GRANDMA
by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni
Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri had offered a lot of valuable advice and coaching to me regarding how to interact with Grandma gently and how to prepare my 98-year-old Grandma for her impending death.
Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri also gave me instructions to pay full attention to Grandma whenever I spoke to her and patiently listen to her complaints and stories. It was a good opportunity for me to practice the Dhamma.
When Grandma was admitted to the hospital at the emergency department in June 2014, Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri was very kind to Grandma. She went with me to see Grandma at 1.00am just before her surgery. When the surgeon tried to introduce himself and shake hands with me, I told him I would not shake hands with a man. The surgeon was apologetic and kind.
Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri laughed at me later and said that I could be a bit gentler with the surgeon who had woken up in the middle of the night to perform the surgery.
I had a loving relationship with my Grandma. She had great trust in me and was proud of my decision to let go of my career in pharmacy and naturopathy and ordain as a nun. It was hard to watch Grandma fading away in front of my eyes.
I chanted ‘Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma-Sambuddhassa’ continuously for Grandma and she was calm and at peace whenever I was chanting. I was also wondering what else I could do for Grandma at that time. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri told me that I could just sit quietly next to Grandma offering a piece of my peace, goodness and lovingkindness.
Grandma passed away in the hospital with me sitting next to her.