Monday, April 16, 2012

My paternal grandmother

A post in memory of my late po-po (paternal grandmother)

DSC01422_thumb3A patchwork-play-blankie she made for Nathan, her great-grandson

Things I remember…

Lunch at her house on Sundays after church – the two staple dishes on her table were always: pak cham kai (Hakka style poached chicken) and ngiong tew fu (tofu stuffed with pork mince)

Playing with the cute yellow fluffy chicks in her back garden – she always had chickens in her backyard

Her beautiful yappy dogs (Japanese Spitzes) that she loved so much

Photo taken with my po-po and gu-gu in November 2011

Although I was not extremely close to her, I somehow felt rather melancholic and wistful following the news of her death.

Perhaps it was the fact that her death meant the passing of a generation in our family (as my gong-gong had already passed away 11 years before). Or perhaps it was the fact that with her passing, the only person in our family with a direct link to our Kadazandusun heritage is gone. She is the only family member I know of who spoke Kadazan.

She died peacefully on 5th April 2012. She was 83. From an outsider’s perspective, everything seem normal the night before. She went about her normal routine and went to bed as usual. In the middle of the night, my aunt woke to the sound of my grandmother’s laboured breathing. In the course of events that followed (i.e. calling other family members, rushing her to the hospital, receiving the brain haemorrhage diagnosis) she slipped into a coma and eventually breathed her last breath.

To everyone else around her, the news was unexpected and came as a sudden blow. Yes of course at 83, everyone knew that it might not be long before the time came for final good-byes… but I think we thought perhaps there would be a sign or indication to help brace ourselves for it. But that’s they way life goes I suppose.

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.”
Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid

1 comment:

  1. I went to her funeral and very touched by the testimony of her life. Your grandma is incredibly simple yet impacting lives of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A beautiful person indeed !

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