This is one of my hardest post to write.
I lost my best friend, my inspiration, my everything….my grandmother on the 4th of May.
Grief is a very strange feeling to describe. I feel the loss, the sadness and the pain. The deep sense that a part of me is gone. At the same time, a strange sense that I am glad she is no longer in pain. I’m relieved that she got to see us before her passing and that I get to re assure her that I will look after Asher and my parents. Through tears in her eyes, I saw the longing…. perhaps the longing to be with us a little more and the sadness that she couldn’t.
No amount of words could hold what my grandmother has taught me. She lived for me and my family since forever. Even in death, I know her fear was not about herself but for us.
My grandmother looked after me since I was 3 days old. That’s right. 3 days. I was brought back home in her arms. She nursed me through sickness, she let me cling on to her on her back while I was teething, brought me to tuition classes, scolded the principal for organising an external trip to the zoo dressing students in shorts as that would attract mosquito bites, cooked omelette at 10pm at night as I was hungry, made my favourite sweet and sour pork, double boil soups so that I can stay healthy, as an university student, stayed for 3 months in my tiny room with me so that I could have company and then cooked for the rest of my housemates.
She was 77 years young. She was a great grandmother. The pride in her eyes as she boastfully told everyone about baby Asher and his baby accomplishments would never leave me. Yes, I have a doctorate BUT my greatest accomplishment in her eyes was having Asher.
Condolences came in. Her yam cake was mentioned. Her famous chill sauce. How she made everyone feel warm and cared for. But more importantly, how much love and grace she gave to people around her. She was remembered as the lady who had a great sense of humour, always have a sharp eye and her love for bling. She was modern and dignified yet humbled and gracious.
She led a hard life. From a family of 10 children, she lost many of her siblings. She told me stories about the war time, where she saw dead bodies daily… where she ate hardly anything. She started working as a child and wanted badly to study but couldn’t as family circumstances always meant it needed money and her attention. She was always there for her siblings, providing money for their education, keeping an eye on comfortable jobs for them and nursing them if they were unwell.
Her heart has always pointed to one place. Her family. She lived and served her family her life.
I’m the closest to her heart. Perhaps the luckiest too because I have memories of walking in Chinatown with her sampling the best water chestnut cake and rice dumplings. Oh and how about our trips to Hong Kong, Busselton (WA), Malaysia, and her last trip to Perth where she was here for Asher’s arrival. I have her love for food and zest in life. I grew up with her love and time- something that would be difficult for my mum, aunty and uncle to have.
She taught me how to cook. She was the reason why this blog was created. She said “if the first time it doesn’t work out, just try again, the 2nd time will work”. She encouraged me and laughed at my failures but always in a kind way. We cooked together in joy (with her directing me of course). My father said, she always looked forward to my daily FaceTime calls, where I would ask her for advice for herbs and soups.
I will miss her. I miss her already.
My heart is broken. I think one of the hardest thing is that Asher would never get to know her personally. Yes, I will tell him stories and show him photos of his loving great grandmother but it won’t be the same.
I know that life goes on. It will. It does. Routine helps. I know Grandma wants me to be happy- and nurture Asher the best way I can. I aim to continue her legacy. I have so much that I want to learn from her and yet now I have to appreciate what I have gotten from her. Her zest and strength in life. Her never give up attitude and her positivity. Her kindness and warmth to everyone she meets.
We managed to say our goodbyes. With tears in her eyes, an image I will never forget, I knew she was saying goodbye to us with longing in her eyes too. Even in that moment, her eyes… I could tell she was asking if I will be ok. If Asher would be. Oh my grandmother, I know how much you love us. All I could to was to thank her, reassure her and let her know I love her.
I love you my dearest grandmother. Always in my heart. Always in my memories.