Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ah Ma

It's been a very long week, and I've just been too overwhelmed to actually sit down and talk about it. Now that a week has passed, I think that I am just about ready to process matters.

Exactly a week ago, it was just like any other Thursday. I had made plans to go to the blood bank with my girlfriend to donate blood, and had set my alarm earlier, for about 845am. But little did I know that things weren't going to happen as I had planned.

At 8 in the morning, Daddy woke me up with the words "Wake up, Ah Maa's gone already". I leapt out of bed instinctively, my mind still not yet fully awake to process the words.

My paternal grandmother (my Ah Ma) had been staying with us for several years already. Her health wasn't very good, she had diabetics and kidney problems, and pills and injections were a constant daily affair for her. About a year ago, she had a stroke that left her in a comatose stage, and we brought her back to our house. She couldn't speak, nor walk, and basically, was in a persistent vegetative state. A civic ambulance had to be called to bring to a private dialysis centre three times a week as she could no longer walk down our flight of stairs herself as she used to do so.

From a robust 60-70kg when she was still reasonably well a few years ago, she had been gradually losing weight in the recent years. In fact, within this one year, she lost so much weight that she was really boney and her weight was actually just 40kg. You can imagine how sad it is to see her be in this state when one remembers how plump she used to be.

Everything happened so fast as there were so many things to be done for a funeral. I had to ring my Sister, who had just left for Vietnam on Wednesday (a day before my Ah Ma passed), and arrange her flight details to come back immediately. Family had to be informed. Arrangements for funeral preparations had to be made. There was never a silent moment as my house, for the next few days, was packed with so many relatives, friends, and associates.

There was also family drama that was so unbelievable. In fact, it had seemed that the drama ensuing was even more drama-fied than the dramas one watch on television. Thank gosh that everything turned out fine in the end. I can only hope that there wouldn't be a big drama again in the future...

In a way, perhaps, due to the stroke she had a year ago, we were given a year long to prepare ourselves mentally for the time when Ah Ma will pass on. Thus, after the initial shock on the first day, most of the family can gradually accept Ah Ma's demise. After all, she was suffering for the last few years of her life, and her passing on means an end to her pain?

I've always believed that Ah Ma was the pillar of the family that supports and holds everyone together. Now that she's gone, my place just fill kinda empty. Like something's missing.

As a granddaughter, I couldn't converse much with her except for the basics, "Have you eaten?", "How are you today?", "What did you do today?", "Ah Ma, I bought your favourite XXX, later you can have some for tea!","Ah Ma, I'm going out to XXX now.","Ah Ma, I'm home!". My Ah Ma can only converse in dialect, and my Hokkien was not very good, I mean I can speak Hokkien, but I'm certainly not fluent in the language. Now that she's gone, I've learnt things that I've not known about my Ah Ma from cousins who can speak the language better than me, and I regret that I did not put in more effort to learn the dialect better to know more about my granny.

I'm fine now, just that perhaps, I need time to fully comprehend her death and come to terms with the fact that perhaps, my life will just be a little bit different from now on.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear abut your grandmother, how old was she, if I may ask? Drama of any sort is so draining, I hope you'll able to distant yourself from it as best as possible, I know that's not easy with family though.

    Hang in there = )

  2. im sorry to hear about your granny's passing, deepest condolences to u & yr family. be strong and take care.


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