We knew that this day will eventually come, but I guess we can never be prepared for the time when we actually lose someone. Each day we are faced with the scene of my grandpa’s physical condition deteriorating and his memory fading. It certainly wasn’t easy, but at least we still got to see him. For my cousins and I, he was the person that stood by us when we grew up. He was there to teach and protect us and showed us a lot of new things.
Suddenly after all those years where he was our strength, he grows weaker than us by the day. Until one day in April 2016, at early morning, we received the news. He has left us permanently. Apparently, even his life of 95 years doesn’t seem enough for us.
We know we should have prepared ourselves that one day he will leave us, and maybe we did try, I don’t know. But there was always this hope that he will live a day longer. After all, he was stronger and healthier than most people his age. He worked until he was 84, where his office was in the 3rd floor and the only way to reach it was through the stairs. He only finally decided to resign because he didn’t want to be a burden to the company during an economic downturn. A funny thing was his pension. He used to work for the government and with his age, he received pension probably longer than his working life.
He used to have so much passion to live. He loved my grandma, that’s for sure. He used to buy her the best dresses or diamonds that he could buy for her. He took her traveling the world. He was devastated when my grandma passed away even though he tries hard to not show it. I was still in my teens when I lost my grandma, and along with that a part of him died with my grandma. He no longer have the desire to travel, or dress lavishly or even to renovate his house to be more comfortable. He kept his lifestyle just sufficient of his basic needs.
During the first year that my grandma was gone, he would come home from the doctors cheerful if the doctor said that he doesn’t have long to live. He found himself still awake in this world almost 20 years later, but over time he managed to channel his grief towards taking care of his grandchildren. He never let himself forget my grandma though. For more than 15 years he still did his morning and afternoon tea ritual with my grandma. He would prepare an offering of tea and a small snack for my grandma whenever it was time for his morning and afternoon tea session. He won’t forget to replace my grandma’s favourite flower, orchid, on her vase so her vase would always have a fresh orchid. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. It was probably the most solemn love I have ever seen.
Ever since my grandma died, he puts us, his grandchildren, as his purpose of life. But then, his grandchildren also grew up and one by one each one of us got married and started our own family. I guess with that he felt his purpose of life was gone and then his passion for life also diminished.
He’s gone now and the only place we will see him is in our memory. It’s a good thing we have lots of good memories to remember him by. A lot of the goodness in my life certainly came from you. Thank you for all of it. Bye, Kiang. We may not see you physically anymore, but you will forever be in our thoughts.