(Photo taken from my uncle's FB page)
Ah Ma (my maternal grandmother) passed away peacefully last night. I got the news when I was out having supper with my colleagues. Halfway eating, i decided to check my handphone and saw a missed call from my aunt. When i saw the missed call, i immediately had a bad feeling. i was imagining the worst - that something happened to my mom. i tried calling her back but she was engaged all the time. so i messaged her. and she called me back immediately. then her son called me too.
Ah Ma and I are not very close. I am not going to be a hypocrite and make it sound like we are super close. We are not. We have a huge language barrier. Ah Ma can only speaks Heng Hwa and a mixture of hokkien and mandarin. I can only speak Mandarin and a limited hokkien. In the recent years, Ah Ma gets super easily angry and frustrated. So whenever we tried to communicate with each other, she will end up shouting and scolding me out of frustrations that i do not understand what was she talking about. But i have never been angry or feel hurt by Ah Ma's shouting before. I will always end up manja-ing her and say "Haiyoooo.... Ah Ma, mai mang chang la... wo bo ming pek leh. sorry lor... wa bo yong, beh hiao tia..." translation :"Haiyooooo.... Ah Ma, dont frust la, i dont understand leh. Sorry lor, i useless, dont know how to understand" whilst smiling at her and she will always end up smiling cutely and say "beh hiao kin la" translation "nevermind la"
Despite all these language barrier, i do have my fair share of fond memories of her throughout my life.
I remember vividly Ah Ma used to stay above a rickety wooden pre war shop lot along Jalan Mengkibol. When i was young, my parents will always bring us to visit her there. She will always make us each a glass of orange squash. Somehow her orange square is the nicest orange squash i have ever tasted. Whenever i tried to make myself a glass, it wont taste the same!
I also remember bringing mom and Ah Ma out to the nearby hypermart after dinner just so that Ah Ma can look at stuffs instead of staying at home all the time.
I stopped going to Ah Ma's place a few months ago. In fact, i avoid going there coz everytime i go there, Ah Ma will ask me why my mom hasnt come back from USA yet. I really dont know how to answer and lie to her anymore. And everytime she will end up sobbing asking me why mommy went to usa so suddenly and didnt say good bye to her. i really really really really feel like shit whenever that happened. and everytime i voice my concern to my uncles and aunties, they will assure me that Ah Ma will not remember anymore coz Ah Ma has dementia. Then everytime i go, again, Ah Ma's dementia miraculously got cured and asked me about mom.
That is my regret. I regret being selfish, thinking about my own discomfort and decided not to spend more time with her.
But i am also feeling very sure and assured that Ah Ma is definitely at a better place now. At least she is not suffering and that she is reunited with Ah Kong again.
So just now when i went to Ah Ma's coffin to see Ah Ma, she looked so peaceful. I said this to her "Ah Ma, wa lai liao. Ah Ma lu ya sui oh! Ah Ma ching pao yu mommy kuai dian hao chi lai oh!" translation (i was mixing hokkien and mandarin) "Ah Ma, i am here. Ah Ma you look good oh! Ah Ma please bless mommy to recover faster"
May Ah Ma rest in peace.