When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest
– Leave out all the rest, by Linkin Park
Sometime in the fifth hour past noon, my grandmother passed away. She leaves behind nine children, various in-laws (and quite a few outlaws XD). numerous grandchildren and a fractured family. Well, not really, but we shall see what happens in the next few days.
If there is one thing I don’t regret, it’s spending time with my grandma. My grandmother was one of those fierce women who didn’t need feminism to blaze her own way; she was a strong, opinionated woman who disciplined her children and spoiled her grandchildren. She was also the most stubborn woman I know. My grandmother kept her family running while my grandfather was earning the bread. Frugal, she taught her children how to be independent and to do their own housework. She fixed things on her own rather than paying someone to do so. My grandmother also took fierce pride in her family; while none of us may be wildly rich, neither are any of us doing drugs or are we criminals.
Ever the fierce Tiger, my grandmother is also stubborn. This stubbornness has been passed down to quite a number of children and grandchildren. At the same time, she also instilled respect for our elders, and would not tolerate any disrespect from a younger child to an older one. My grandmother was also immensely practical and knew her offspring well; she could identify her children from a long way off and when she called for you, it was best to come running.
My grandmother took care of ten of her 18 grandchildren. Three were Muslim, yet she respected their beliefs, ensuring that their beliefs were not violated as she took care of them. She adored and doted on her grandchildren. Each one she knew by name, each one she called at least once. Each also had a nickname she gave.
My grandmother was also a great traveller. Before her stroke, she and my grandfather used to travel at least once a year. In their old age, they visited China, Rome, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. They always brought souvenirs home but what most of us looked forward to was my grandmother’s cooking.
My grandmother was the family cook, no doubt. Every Christmas, she would make pineapple tarts that would put most commercial and home-baked cookies to shame. She also knew how to cook spaghetti bolognaise, phong teh, and various kinds of sambal. There are very few people who do not love my grandmother’s devil curry; hers was just the right kind of spiciness.
My grandmother has lived a full life. A few weeks before she passed away, she told one of my uncles that she had a dream of my grandfather standing outside the gate of the house she lived in. He refused to come in and did not answer when she asked him why didn’t he come in. A few days before she passed away, my grandmother thanked everyone who visited her and I think, asked forgiveness too. I think more than any other times before, she knew she was leaving us.
I don’t regret her passing, but I would be lying if I said that I did not miss her. We all do, and I’m glad for myself that at least I managed to spend time with Mama in her final hours and days. I have no regrets.
Rest in peace Mama. We love you.