It’s been a week or more since my grandmother left her body and bid us farewell. But her presence and existence is still so strong. She had reignited in us- the importance of being a family, and reunited us in the face of death as we see family members living far away all flew back to send her off for the very last time. Sadly, as one of her closest grandsons, I am ashamed that I could not make it back due to my studies.
I do not fully agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson that
“When you were born you were crying and everyone else was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone else is crying.”
Because there isn’t a need to cry. Death is part and parcel of life. We are born into this world to die.
If you had lived your dignified life with integrity, there is no need to fear death, and we do not need to sob for the deceased as we know that he or she is leaving to a definite better place, may it be heaven or rebirth.
I am glad that my grandma’s funeral services seemed to be a pretty joyful one as quoted by my friend:
“Don’t worry, your house is full of joy… it feels like a gathering in heaven”
My grandmother, a mother to 9, despite her quiet nature, had always been fond of being immersed in a bustling lively atmosphere- time when her kids and grandkids are back from overseas. Her favourite time of the year, I assumed must be Chinese New Year. I believe she must have left in happiness.
Leaving a footprint in my heart.
1. Education vs. Integrity
Grandma was not highly educated, infact she was illiterate. However, she managed to take care of a big family of 11 till the extend of bringing her children up successfully. By successful, I don’t mean high education or high income gainers, but rather good people. Of course many of my uncles and aunties ended up with high educations or even decent jobs, be it in Penang or worldwide, but much more importantly, they have a good sense of moral conscience and they value family very much. For example, some of my uncles would come over the house to visit her weekly, asking if they can help in some way such as giving her a good massage or paying for her expenses. Those living in foreign countries would try to come back once a year to light her up from time to time.
2. Peace and Faith
Grandma was a pious Buddhist throughout her life. In my younger days,, she would wake up early and start chanting everyday, possibly earlier than the chirping of the early birds. Then I remember there was a time when she chanted bowls of raw paddy rice before feeding them to the birds outside. Then for the rest of the day she would be sitting on her desk, carefully copying scrolls of buddhist sutras although she was never taught how to read or write. Regardless of her age, she always seek to cultivate her mind and give us a warm smile whenever we reach home.
3. Origami: The dove
I grew up my whole life living with my grandma. We basically spend our time with her after school every single day before going back home at night to sleep. When the other adults are gone, she would take up her motherly role, frowning at us whenever I was going to pick a fight with my brother. She would cut apples and feed me to keep the doctors away.
Ahma was the first to teach me the art of origami, something I enjoyed doing when I was young. She loves folding the dove, probably because it reflects her personality of peace. When I was in primary, I always demanded her to fold me the smallest dove she could ever fold.
“ Ahma, can you make it smaller please?” I kept asking. And she would tried hard until she finally can’t go any smaller haha. As I further grew up, i learnt by myself how to fold more complex origamis such as 8-sided boxes and roses. Well, I would conclude she cultivated in me a good skill that can impress girls romantically haha. ^_^
There are much more that grandma had left in us. And the only way to repay the gratitude we have for our elderly ones are perhaps to remember their good deeds and passed on our heritage and values to the generations to come.
The next time I return home, I will certainly feel that something is amiss：
“Of course, after one and a half month, I miss home.
I miss Penang, my family and friends.
But it’s just a sensation. a friend that comes and go”