Friday, May 27, 2005

When Grandma died

I am still thinking of Daniel. And I dun know why.

To think of it, I never did cry for Daniel. I remembered I went into a state of shock when I flipped open the papers 2 years back and just saw his obituary staring back at me. I did not shed a tear for Daniel then or even now. Should I?

When my maternal grandma died, 4 or 5 years back, I was not as affected then or grieved as I was affected by Daniel's death. Maybe grandma and I never shared a single tender warm moment together.

I recalled my mother leaving me a message on my pager....Grandma died, please come to the funeral.

At that time, I was starting work at a new job, a and was only working 3 days a week initially. I remembered telling my boss then...sorry I can't come in the rest of the week and maybe next week as well cos my grandma just died.

My then boss said..."I am so sorry. Condolences. Take your time and return to work when u are ready."

And i was pretty sure my responses was,"'s all right anyway, we were not that close so I dun really feel so sad."

I did not know why I said that. Maybe that was the way I really felt then and now thinking back...seems a tad bit too heartless and unfilial??

Well, Grandma was just ..... grandma, a woman who gave birth to my mother. We used to visit her every Wednesday cos that was the day my mother had her off day from work. And every single time without fail, my mother would buy a duck, which she would cook in soya sauce. And after giving my grandma one third of the duck, would bring the rest back home. (I am unable to eat duck meat now cos I got gout. As SO said, I had eaten all the ducks I could in my life time. Karma!)

My grandpa died in his 60s?? leaving grandma who was then in her 30s?? to bring up her brood of children. There was 8 of them, 5 girls and 3 boys.

I think Grandma probably came from a rich family background. She simply had no idea of working. Other widows probably have to toll and toil to bring up so many kids, but I dun think she actually worked a single day to support her children. Her children, other than my mother who was the youngest, had minimal education....Maybe up to primary school education? My mother was lucky that she managed to scrap through 3 years of her high school education.

Anyway, most of my grandma's children worked various jobs to support her family.

Grandma and I never really had a conversation directly. And i mean NEVER! At least, not to my recollection. I mean we spoke the same language and dialect and understand each other perfectly but then there was never a common topic between us. To her, I was probably just the son of her youngest daughter, who visited every week.

Thinking of it now, I just realised that grandma and I never sat down for a meal together. And I mean NEVER. I have never eaten with any of my maternal relatives other than my mother. Odd and very strange. I mean I have definitely seen her eat and she has seen me ate but we have never actually share a meal ...lunch or dinner together.

I was telling SO this and SO admitted it was strange.....but he said ...but then your family is strange. And I suppose that by never sharing a meal together means Grandma and I never bonded at all. But now that's history and there 's nothing I could do any more.

When Grandma reached her 60s??, she contracted diabetes. By then, I have not visited her much. Reaching teenage years by then, I no longer followed my mother as she went on her weekly trips home. I was busy with school, life and stuff. I suppose I never did see her much after becoming a teenager. I was just too busy growing up.

Grandma was hospitalized when I was in my early adulthood...when I was on my first job. I remembered then that her both her legs were amputated in a operation. But she was still very much aware and not at all senile. She couldeven recognized me even though she had not seen me for years. And she was so in her element, that she even remembered clearly what the doctor said about the next appointment as he wheeled her out of the operation table. We were all expecting her to be groggy and dizzy from the operation and yet there she was alert.

I visited her once or twice at the hospital and then she was discharged. And that was the last time I ever saw her again.

I did not keep track of her whereabouts after that and I really have no idea where she lived then. Was she staying in the old family place or had she moved in with her youngest son? Frankly, I dun know. I never visited her. Maybe I just did not thought of visiting her at all. Though my mother did still go on her weekly trips.I cannot seemed to remember much about myself or my activities during that phase of life. But it was not as if I dun care. I really did but I just dun know what to do. Or what I had done then.

Anyway, I received news of her funeral some years later and went to her wake.
By then I had moved out and living apart from my immediate family.

At the funeral wake, there were so many relatives that I have not seen for a long time and relatives that I did not even know even existed. The whole wake lasted 3 days and she was given a catholic funeral doubt...Arranged by my mother.

My grandma was not an educated woman and I dun think she has nary a concept of catholism or Christianity. But on her deathbed, she was baptized and was even given the name "Maria".

I can still remembered one of my older cousins, saying...when did granma become "Maria" and then he chuckled. Frankly, I also found that amusing. I meant...just because one is baptized does not necessary mean one is given passage to heaven. U have to believe. Really believe in the salvation of Christ....otherwise it is just death rites by catholism.

When she was cremated, some of my female relatives cried. I dun think my mother wept though. I did not see that then. But then either did I. Frankly, I did not exactly feel a loss. After all, she had lived a full rich life. And she died without complaints and regrets. And she died ..OLD...she was in her 80s? or was it 90s?

A few days after the funeral, I accompanied my mother to collect grandma's ashes. There were only the 2 of us. I dun know why there were only 2 of us. Anyway, my mother brought me to this terrace place..some sort of church.. which seemed like some place of catholic worship place or someone's home. There we were brought underground to a basement where it seems there are so many urns around. Well....the caretaker? asked us to choose a empty slot..

My mother couldn't make up her mind and so I just picked a slot..with numbers 8 ..which I now cannot remembered.

And we left grandma's ashes there.

And I never went back there since. And I dun know whether my mother does. Frankly, now I dun think I could even remember the exact location of the place either.

I did not feel sad for grandma, the way I felt for Daniel. Maybe Daniel died the prime of his life...whereas Grandma died old...she lived her full life. I meant ..could she have gone any further??? She had her legs cut off, she was sick and old.

And personally to me, she's more like my mother's friend than my grandma...whom I hardly know. Whom I met a many times when I was a child. There did not seemed to be any blood bond intimacy between us. She's just grandma in name. The mother of my mother in blood.

I dun feel any closer to Daniel though. After I left the company, we did not keep in touch. Yet I was really haunted by his death. Maybe it was because he was kind to me. Once, twice ..many times and I never had the opportunity to tell him thank you.

Well....dun ask...I dun know. I am funny that way!