Grandma Ira passed away on 28th Feb 2015 (yesterday), and this was her story.
“Life is hard, but we must persevere”
Grandma Ira was 74 years old when I first met her. She looked older than her age, because all the hardship she had to endure in her life. She was a single parent and used to own a successful textile factory in Tangerang.
The May 1998 riot in Indonesia turned her life upside down. Her factory and home was burnt by the rioters. Her only son, who was studying to be a doctor, experienced a serious mental disturbance. He couldn't finish his study because of the mental stress.
Despite losing everything she had, Grandma Ira took full responsibility of her employees’ welfare. She sold the land she had left to pay for their salary. The rest was used to pay for her son’s treatment. Unfortunately the son’s condition deteriorated further and he eventually passed away.
In her darkest moment, she met a pastor who brought her to a shelter house in Senen. There, she had her faith and spirit restored. She managed to get herself back on her feet after one year.
Life outside the shelter was no heaven. She got cheated many times. She had her possession forfeited by landlords and the door to her room locked, because she wasn't able to pay the room rental. There were so many difficult and sad things she had to face. However she also witnessed how God’s never ending providence for her.
When she had no money, God sent her angles in various forms. Helps from students of Atmajaya to get her possession back by paying her rental, orders for hand phone or coin pouches (handmade by grandma Ira) from kind-hearted folks, flowed continuously. At times she only got 5000 Rupiahs (about 50 Singapore cents - Yaruzi) in a day, but she was grateful and she never complained.
Last Saturday, I happened to sit next to her in the bus stop. Grandma Ira saw Giza, my little daughter, and spoke to us. She gave Giza a nice hairpin and a small bag. We ended chatting a lot about her, and that’s how I first knew her.
In her old age, she was still optimistic, full of hope, and always grateful for whatever God provided. I prayed that she would be blessed with perfect health, better life, and spirit. Amen.