ZongXin Sun

It is often believed that your early life encounters and experiences disproportionately mold the person that you are for the rest of your life. I am fortunate enough to have had a person of the fiercest love to be an enormous part of the growing up in my life - my late grandfather, ZongXin Sun(8/31/1931 - 2/28/2020). My grandfather, despite being a frugal man for his own good, never had one ounce of hesitation in sacrificing anything to even such as marginally better the lives of his loved ones in any situation. This was reflected to at the beginning of my life, when for my 1st birthday he biked several miles to purchase the best and biggest birthday cake for me, to the many daily interactions of sparing to eat any of the best dish on the table such that his children and grandchildren would be able to enjoy more of it, refusing to wear new clothes such that his grandchildren may wear them, and handing off his coat in the midst of cold weather such that others may suffer less. In his unfazed sacrifice, he never desired grand gestures or acts in return, but drew his livelihood and happiness from the simples times and experiences he was able to share with his descendents - in the beginning of my life that was times such walking me to preschool through the bright warm fall days and later on it became waiting for the time the day in which I arrived home from middle/high school to greet me and encourage me to eat. These moments, as well as many more moments he shared with his children and grandchildren are what he traded for when coming to America in his late adult stage - leaving behind most of his immediate family, language, and home. When I first came of age to realize this, I felt sad, but through the past few years I've realized that he has found a simple but rare everyday joy in watching and supporting the lives of his children and grandchildren. For both his siblings and his children, he took on an overwhelming countryside workload such that they could have more time to focus on their education and rise to a better life. As I've remembered this sacrifice and the countless others he's made once arriving in America in these past few weeks, I couldn't help but see how much those who came before me paved the way such that I could have an unobstructed path to some of the best opportunities in this life. In the moments when I'm walking to class, pulling up to the basketball gym, or waiting for my food to arrive at a nice restaurant, I know that these opportunities I've come to take for granted are what my grandfather sacrificed and work so hard for such that my family and I can come to enjoy. As my grandfather approached the end, one aspect I always felt for is the fact that he never got to live the life of opportunity and dream-chasing he provided upon others. Yet, in my final conversation with him, his final words to me were "爷爷放心", meaning "Grandpa's soul is rest assured" - this gave me some deep internal peace, knowing that while he never had a supremely comfortable, luxurious lifestyle, he was at peace with the loving, healthy, and joyful family he invested his heart and life in. I numbingly feel undeservingly grateful and lucky to have had this amazingingly loving and sacrificing man in my life. My memories with him will be one of the dearest treasures I possess in this lifetime, and my sorrow is eased, knowing that his soul is reunited in heaven with the love his life and my grandmother, ZongAi Sun.