Monday, September 08, 2008

Farewell ... Ah-Ma ...


Hb's paternal grandmother passed away last Thursday, 4/9/08 in the afternoon. Although we are saddened by her departure, I believe it is also a relief for her. Compared to many others, she is considered 'fortunate' to have 'suffered' only 1+ year, deteriorating faster the last few months. She lived to a ripe age of 96, hardly a common feat these days.

I met her in 1988 when she came back from China after having gone back to Swatow to live with her daughter for some time. She was a sprightly old lady almost always armed with a loud, infectious cackle that made her eyes disappear.

Being the tough 'dragon lady' she was to my mil, accepting no nonsense whatsoever, she was, however, always warm to her grandchildren and to me even before hb and I were married. She would fondly hold my hands, stroke my cheeks or placed hers against mine. Such was the unabashed ways she would display her affections.

Even at 70+, almost 80, she would continue to walk to the market for her grocery, cooked her own meals, handwashed her clothes and even helped out with ironing my fil's work shirts. She even had the memory of an elephant to boot!

But, sometimes, she was just as greedy as any young child, 'stealing' titbits to eat when she is not supposed to. There was once, she complained to my sil, asking her why the snack was so hot... well, she tried the silica gel! Luckily, she spat it out when she felt the burning sensation.

And then, you'll be surprised by her hospitality - despite having a good memory, we believe she had selective memory and remembered only the important stuff. Why? Cos from the time that you walk in the door, she will ask you to eat or drink, only to repeat again, a couple of minutes later. And this can go on till you walk out of the door! Sometimes, we laugh it off, sometimes, it drove us nuts!

Besides being independent, she is quite an active paricipant in her church activities. Going on day trips even at 80+ years old! No doubt the oldest charge there! And we will hear about her trip for the whole month!

Ah-ma's health deteriorated after she had a fall and sprain her arm. It's funny how old people, when surrounded by their friends and being mobile gave them a lease of life. Take that away and they are quickly reduced to almost an invalid. It's rather heart-wrenching to see someone so active and full of life to have life slowly dissipate from her.

It is with much regret that Kimi did not have the chance to meet this sprightly old lady when she was still cackling and telling us not to speak ill of the people on tv lest they hear us. I think Kimi and Ah-ma would have made each other very happy, cackling and laughing their '1-line smile' together!

There are just so many anecdotes I can share, these will become memories for us all. Memories we will hold dear. Today, as per Ah-ma's request, her ashes were scatterd at sea after creamation. Indeed a brave and unconforming move for someone of her generation!
Farewell, Ah-ma, may you find happiness wherever you may be! We will miss you!

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