Thursday, December 23, 2004


My Grandma feels like part of the furniture now.

It's cruel to say that, but that's how exactly it is. She has gone so much that there's no response from her when you talk to her. She can't see, she can't hear, she doesn't talk, she needs to be fed and bathed, and she does nothing everyday except lying down or sitting up.

It was a stroke at first, and probably many mini-strokes which was never diagnosed. Add dementia to that and heaven knows what else, and there she is, totally oblivious to the world. She doesn't recognise anyone and doesn't respond much.

I wasn't always close to grandma, but I remember when we were young, we used to stay with her now and then. She'll make the nicest fried rice I've ever eaten (at that time mom wasn't a great cook yet), and sometimes she'll grill sotong over the charcoal ... and boy, I loved that! Gee, I'm drooling even now. She has always been extremely nice to my family, mom being her favourite daughter. She would also buy us clothes especially during the Chinese New Year as we couldn't afford new stuffs.

Grandma has lived through the World War 2, hiding under the bed when the soldiers raided the room, with her face inches from the knife attached to the gun barrel (there's a word for that but I just can't recall what it is!). She has lived through wealth and poverty and death. Grandma was born in a rich family and lost both parents at a young age. She was not educated because everytime she had to go to school, she'd hide under the bed and refused to go. When her parents died young, she was sent away to a relative and was ill-treated, and married off young. All her money from her parents fell into the relatives' hands and none for her. She was too little then. But she has always lead a simple and contented life. And she's just so forgiving.

It's sad to see her in this stage now. Four five years ago, she was still pretty all right. I would talk to her everyday after work, and a simple conversation with her, although limited, simply felt wonderful for both of us. I remember I bought her a birthday cake once, and we all celebrated with her, and she looked so happy and smiling. She shared the room with me, and every night I would tuck her in and wished her good night, and listen to her falling asleep. Back then she was already hearing voices in her head and music in the air. Sometimes I would buy back chay kuay teow or hokkien mee or other stuffs she liked and she would keep saying no need no need, but she still ate as much as everyone else. We were all very happy then.

Grandma didn't really want to stay with us. She felt that she should be staying with her sons instead of her daughters. But they didn't want her, and she wasted away with them. We only had her when the maid looking after her went back for her annual leave. They only wanted the maid.

I will always remember Grandma smilling when I promised to buy her her favourite food, and she'd insist giving me the money to buy. I'd remember her look when she thought she heard something and I told her it's not. She would smile and laugh when we chit-chat with her and tried to teach her some simple English words. There were times when she was in her 'moods' and you'd just have to be very patient with her till she comes back. Sometimes she would sit quietly by herself and listen to the music in her head and I'd just watch her till she'd noticed me.

All I want for Christmas is to see her smile and recognise us again.

Grandma is staying with us nowadays. The others didn't want to take care of her. We fired the maid a long while back and mom has been coping with everything. It's not easy to take care of grandma, but mom does it without complains. All she asked is for someone else to take care of her now and then so that she can go away for a short break once in a while. Two of my aunts try to help, but not the rest, not even monetarily. Mom has practically to beg them for the money for grandma. Yes, I feel bitter for my mother. I've told her she can bring them to court, but she doesn't want to. I think mom is sometimes very strange herself. She actually can't quite trust other people to take care of grandma. Sometimes I don't know what she is thinking about. She would complain about things to me, but she would never face the people involved. She'll get upset and angry, but she just couldn't be angry when she 'confront' them, and they'll just walk all over her again and again. I think sometimes she's just transfering all her emotions to me. Thank goodness I can still take it. Perhaps one day I can't, and I'll yell at all of them.

I hate everyone.

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