Today marks the 100th day of my Grandmother’s passing. The number is significant in that a ceremony is held on this exact day to end the mourning period. We honored her life and our beloved Aunt who also passed recently in prayers and chants followed by the burning of incense and offerings.
Three generations under one roof to remember the ones we love most.
Jieh Ting Chang, 83, died on March 24, 2017.
She was born in China on October 15, 1934 and immigrated to Cambodia with her aunt when she was only 15 years old. She was married at the young age of 18 and had 12 children. She is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge Regime (1975-1979; which claimed the lives of up to 2 million people), but lost her husband and four children in the conflict.
Her daughter, Marie Peng, was able to escape the war-torn country and found refuge in the United States. In 1991, Marie’s determination to bring her family safely to the states finally bared fruit after years of hard work when all twenty of her family members stepped foot onto North Carolina soil.
I was seven at the time and I still remember it like it was yesterday. My brother and I proudly held signs that read “Welcome to the land of the free” as we were eager to greet the family we’ve never met. At that age, it’s hard to comprehend how important that day really was. But days like today, as we were surrounded by family, it was a clear reminder how special and beautiful it all was and still is.
Death becomes us all, but our memories remain rich in our family’s legacy. RIP Ama and Aunt Ju. Your love still lives on in our hearts.