Received news this evening that our dear Grams passed away on Friday, 3 Sep, 3.17 am (Singapore time).
In early March, she had a stroke in her afternoon nap. Her left arm and leg were paralysed, and she could not talk and had to be fed through a tube. After acupuncture, she could move both limbs a little. But she cried often.
Some said that the stroke had damaged her brain and she could not recognise anyone anymore and was behaving like a baby. But I don't think so. She had been quite hard of hearing so she might not have heard anything we said. She would use a comb on her white wispy hair cos she had always been a neat person. She would also beat her chest and cry, especially after trying but failing to talk.
I think she was afraid. More than that, I think she was frustrated at her state. She might not understand what happened to her but she must be suffering the pain of being trapped inside a broken body.
The Saturday before we left Singapore, I went to find Grams to tell her that I was leaving, to tell her to be strong. I practically shouted into her ears in the hope of being heard. Mother told me to stay put even if anything should happen to Grams in these two years. The fear of not being able to see her again was very real given her condition and age. I just didn't expect it to be so soon.
Heard that she had some infection on Wednesday and wasn't well. But she was quiet and did not cry, which was unusual. Most of the family went over on Thursday night and was with her when she breathed her last. I hope she did not have to suffer in her last hours more than she already did in the past few months.
My initial zen-ness about her leaving her suffering behind gave way to tears as I recalled bits about her. She would get us breakfast from the market when we stayed over. She was always offering Milo or kopi, and urging us to eat more. She sat by me quietly while I studied for my "A" levels, and she was a source of support when my parents divorced. She would have junk food for her birthday celebration cos she wanted food that the kids loved. She was a kind mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. Everyone loves her.
Now, I've come to terms that Grams should be at greater peace than ever. She must be happy to reach the end of her suffering and to be reunited with Gramps.. We should be happy for her.
Just that, I wish I were there when she left..
空闻: 佛家行法，乃在求生人心之所安，超度的乃是活人。(倚天屠龙记, 第40回)
Bye Ahmah, be happy! And we will be too!
Grams laughing, at her birthday celebration, 16 Oct 2005
With lots of tears and memories,
A granddaughter who could not be there
Update 7 Sep 2010
ML started a facebook group called "My Cute Grandma Group" in memory of dear Grams :) We posted photos and events! Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend any until end of the year..
Also learnt that her lunar birthday was the 29th day of the 9th month - Grams was born in the year of the pig - and her gregorian birthday was 28 Oct 1923 - so now we're finally sure of her age!