I wasn’t sure at first if I wanted to blog/post about this on Instagram because I didn’t exactly want this to become too public, but I guess I have to put my feelings and memories somewhere before they slowly fade away. Disclaimer: This is going to be incoherent.
The past year since Mama first became ill has really been an emotional rollercoaster for my entire family. I am very thankful for such a tight knit family – we used to see each other only once a week for our Sunday dinners, but of course of late our meetings became a daily affair because everyone wanted to be with Mama more often. It made me realise how lucky I am to be in this strong and loving family, where although everyone was going through a difficult time, we were going through it together.
Growing up, I didn’t realise how unique it was to live with your grandma, I thought everyone did haha. I feel like I always took the small things for granted, and looking back i wish I had responded with more enthusiasm and gratitude whenever Mama did something for me. Like when she remembered to buy ice cream for us from NTUC, frozen fries, char siew baos for breakfast etc etc the list goes on. She always put us first and I wish I had learnt to do that earlier.
I also wrote a poem about Mama last year. It was for a Literature assignment and for some reason I was very inclined to write about Mama and bazhangs. It was about how the yearly bazhang affair was a familiar thing to me, but how it would soon change completely when Mama is no longer with us. I didn’t realise that time would be as soon as this, and when I pulled it out to read it again a week ago, I felt nothing but anger at how poorly written it was. I had so many thoughts that I couldn’t find the right words for, and it frustrated me that my Grandma’s love was being reflected on so very inadequately.
Random thought but I also really dislike Outram Park MRT because the only times I’ve been there were to go to the hospital – the one place Mama hates. Going there after school is the really the worst feeling.
I always wanted to do more for her, like buy her food and bake her things but as time passed there was less and less that suited her diet. Before my EYAs, I told myself I would buy her something every day on the way home from school, but that didn’t work out either sigh. I wanted to make her food that was healthy and that was soft enough for her to eat – I still have all the steamed cake recipes bookmarked now. I remember making a chiffon cake and a steamed cake that both tasted super bland, but when I offered it to her she was always full of praise. Thinking about it now I don’t recall a single time when she scolded me. Her words to me were always either praise, or a reminder to take care of myself and eat more.
For as long as I can remember, Mama has been praising me for my grades hahaha. I never thought much of it because it was like that every year. When I finished each paper, I would go home and tell her how it went. If I said it was good she would say I’m smart; if I said it was bad she would say never mind she knows I’m smart. She would also always reward me for my good grades with a big fat ang pao that I tried, but failed to decline each time. This time, she passed away on the day I was supposed to receive my grades. I really wish I could have told her that I did well this time too and that she didn’t have to worry about me anymore because I would always do my best to make her proud. She was proud for me for winning the house cup even when she didn’t fully understand it hahaha I tried my best to explain but then I think the message almost like I won a house. So I showed her pictures of us with the house cup instead and I think she understood in the end.
Towards the end when less and less words were said by her bedside, I just spent most of the time gazing at her and holding her hand. Her previously warm hands had turned very cold. Each time I was by her bedside I was praying nonstop in my head, first in English, then in my limited Chinese, and then in a confused mix of both. On the day before she passed away, I finally mustered the courage to pray for her out loud. I got the permission of my aunt and Mama as well, and as I prayed in Chinese, Mama nodded and smiled, and I know that God had given her peace.
I think it hasn’t fully sunken in yet that Mama is no longer here, but when I come home from school in the next few days to an empty sofa and an empty bed I guess that’s when I will feel the absence most strongly. Mama taught me to say my first prayer to Gong Gong, and that’s how all my prayers to Gong Gong start because I thought I was always supposed to say the same thing. Now it’s time for me to say the same thing to Mama:
Ah hui jing guai, bo de nang.