The toughest part about losing someone or something you love isn’t saying goodbye. It is trying to find the courage to go on and learn how to live without them.
Last week at this time, I was at my grandfather’s wake back in Singapore trying to spend as much time as i can with him. Even if he was lying there in that dreadful box… I continued to chit chat with him like he was sitting there and listening to me.
Isn’t it such an irony that my first post about my life in Beijing after the hiatus (last post was in Mar this year) is about my life back in Singapore?
Before I went back for the Oct holidays, I was praying very hard that grandpa wait for me before saying goodbye. And I was really grateful for the 10 days I spent with him while he was still breathing. Unconscious… with tubes and all… but breathing. I am grateful that when we got to him after the doc called to say that grandpa has passed on, his body was still warm. I am grateful that I changed my air tickets and delayed my return to Beijing despite being unsure of how long more he will live. I am grateful that I was there for the entire duration of the wake and was around to send him off for the cremation before I left.
There’s so much I want to say, so much that I feel in my heart. When the mind wanders despite the busyness that I’ve been caught in from the time i came back to work on Monday, the pain that grips my heart hasn’t lessen a single bit. But I try to smile and continue with my life. Learning how to live knowing that grandpa has left us.
We did not lose him suddenly.. he’s been bedridden for a few years, had dementia since a long time ago and barely recognised us these couple of years. We thought we were prepared for the day knowing that it will come… but no, no one will ever be prepared for death. The thing about death is, no matter how prepared you are for it… it will always shock you.
One of the things I’ve learned after the passing of several people I love dearly (Uncle Tan, my 表舅 and now, grandpa) is that you will never get over losses. You absorb them. And as time passes by, the pain dulls and you move on. It’s been 8 years since Uncle Tan left and I still feel my tears well up whenever I think of him and how he is no longer here. And i know that 8 years later, it will be the same. The only difference is, my tears will well up for more loved ones I’ve lost.
People have said to me that grandpa was 98 years old, it should be a 喜丧 (happy funeral). He had a good and long life… Take heart and be glad that he is no longer suffering etc. I know everyone meant well but…. the pain is still real. The thing is… death, whether it is at 19, 25, 40, 70… or 98 wouldn’t make it any easier for anyone.
We can only learn to move on… slowly.
I love you.