February 23, 2013

For Gung Gung (grandfather)

an empty seat.

It is on that exact seat, where I would see you spend most of your time. Reading your Chinese newspaper, taking your naps, resting before going to fetch Danny back and forth from his school or tuitions..  You were always so comfortable in that place.. But now, it is nothing but an empty seat.

We were never really very close as we had a typical awkward grandfather-granddaughter relationship. Generation gap kept us from conversing naturally and frequently. Plus, there was a communication barrier between us as I was fluent in English and you were fluent in Chinese. Hence, we had to communicate in an in-between language that was malay. Still, it touched me to see you try and make an effort to talk to me. You would ask me how was my day when I returned from somewhere, buy snacks for all the kids whenever you had money to spare and ask me to teach you how to handle your handphone. And for awhile, we would hold a conversation..

It was during the year 2012, where I really got to know you better. I was fresh out of high school and needed transport to take fetch me to my part-time job. Also, I needed transport to fetch me to my driving center since I was having driving lessons back then. Initially, those car trips with you was awkward as we didn't really have much to talk about, but over time, we grew more comfortable with each other's presence. In fact, you even shared with me some driving tips and how driving was so different back in your time. I enjoyed listening to your stories. I felt happy that finally, I was beginning to form a relationship with my Gung Gung.

One year flew by to quickly.. just when I was beginning to know you better, you had to leave. To be honest, I am still in shock now. It's as if reality has not really sink in yet. Gung Gung is gone now. Those are just words to me, but they have no meaning. I keep expecting you to still be alive, in the hospital, and getting better day by day. But now.. its too late.

You were always so strong to me. Even despite your age, you were healthy and fit. You could carry things around and do odd jobs around the house (though sometimes you spoilt things in the process >.<). That is why, it is such a shock to me that you have left. Then again, I should have mentally prepared myself. After you suffered your first fall in January 2013, your condition detoriated rapidly, suddenly it was as if disease led to another disease. I begin to see a different side of you.. and it broke my heart. It was like you lost a big part of you. Losing your ability to take care of yourself must have been so hard on you. I wish I took the time to talk to you, ask you how your day was, like you did to me all those years back. Even when you got rushed to hospital, I was not so worried. I guess I was still in denial that you were very sick. To me, I was so sure that you were going to recover soon. Then you would be your old happy self again. I was wrong.

My biggest regret is not taking more effort to talk to you, I know that I am in Shah Alam most of the time for college. But I guess I should have converse with you more during the weekends when I'm home. And now it's too late. Too late. Those two words that can make me tear up because I feel so much regret. I did not even have the chance to wish you goodbye. My two last memories of you was during Chinese New Year when you looked so pleased to see me wear cheongsam for the first time. And my last memory of you, was when you fell down again. Kakak and I had to support you and rest you on the pillow. That was before you got sent to the hospital. If only I had known then, I would have asked you take care.. at least talked to you a little before you went to the hospital. Because now, that will always be my final memory of you.

When I returned home from college yesterday, I received the news around 6pm that you had to enter the emergency ward again. I was calm. "What could happen?" I remembered thinking. Then around 9 pm, the house phone rang. When it was papa on the other line, I felt the first feeling of panic. Then papa said on the phone softly "Dik, Gung Gung has passed away..".

All your belongings is packed up by popo earlier. She puts up a tough front, but deep down, I can tell she is just as sad as the rest of us that you are gone. Danny cried this morning when he heard the news.. Even though all your things have officially left the house to be transported to Ipoh to your family. Your memories here will not die. Thank you Gung Gung, for everything you have done for us. I know I have never said to you this before, but I really appreciate you and I will miss you so much. I hope you are in a better place now.
Rest In Peace.