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Postcards to Grandfather



2018 Summer, I was very determined to bring my two children back to Peng-Hu (my birth place) to visit my grandparents. I had waited for that moment for a long time: my children were old enough for me to be willing to arrange the trip and they were still young enough to accept my grandparents at first glance. I know I need to imprint this closeness between my children and my own family to their childhood memory. We know it lasts forever.







Grandma is very sick. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer last year. The moment I saw her, I called her, touched her and wiped my tears with my hands. She was a wreck. She sat on a wheelchair and looked at me. Her left eye is the only part of her body is still of conscious. That image of her left me with such strong impressions that it keeps coming to my mind. It is like all the rest of her body is just a shell, and that eye is the residual of the lost brain function. The only consciousness is that eye. She could only see “you” as an image without much connection to anything.

One cousin told me that grandfather’s health condition is badly hit by grandmother’s sickness. I feel sad that I am not able to do anything since I live so far away.

© 2019 Linhuei Chen


Dear Grandpa,

I have decided to send you postcards from the Netherlands. The card will be sent to Taiwan first and be forwarded to Peng- Hu. I will draw the cards myself and share my Dutch life with you. I wonder what will happen but I hope you will be happy when you receive them…

Dear Grandpa,

How are you? It was really nice to visit you and grandma with my kids this summer. It is pity that we live so far away and cannot visit you frequently. Kids still remember you, their great-grandfather and great-grandmother.

I made the drawing on the postcard myself: Jens was shouting loud out of the window to tell everybody that it was his birthday.


Chaline, Jens, Joost and Linhuei