Eight words no one wants to say, no one wants to hear, especially not so from an eighty year old grandmother of four lying limply on her bed.
It may be an overused line in your Mediacorp dramas to you but when you get told that straight in the face, you’ll wish that it was from another one of those scenes.
But it wasn’t. It was so very real. Heart-wrenching. As much as it was difficult to hear the words being pronounced in difficulty, I know it must have been much, much harder to say. And I still cannot believe it.
The grandmother who used to pamper us with homecooked meals that never ever tasted the same since she passed the baton over to the maid, the grandmother who used to smile till her eyes crinkled behind her gold-rimmed glasses. My grandmother.
They say it is not until you are about to lose something, only will you begin to treasure it. Someone in this case, and it is that much much terrifying. I can name all the differences in the homecooked food ever since my grandmother stopped cooking, the black bean soup now has more peanuts, the long bean fried rice has less dried shrimp and so on.
The grandmother who taught me how to eat my chee cheong fun the proper way, with chilli and dried shrimp. The grandmother who once ran to school to pick me up in the rain because she was afraid I’d fall sick only to have me run back and wait at my neighbour’s house that ended in the Lashing Of A Lifetime. The grandmother who scolded me for rolling my eyes at her years ago as a defiant child, but now can barely it up straight.
There is something about watching a person age and body condition deteriorate, it can be liked to a tree. Strong and blooming in the spring and summer, the beautiful colours of their petals brightening up the atmosphere, then shedding, slowing in the autumn and winter. Slowly, slowly. Until there is nothing but an exterior. Is that somone you know? Or someone you knew?
I took at good look at my grandmother tonight, on her bed, struggling with every word just to talk to me. The wrinkles surrounding her eyes, the glazed look she was giving me. Her grasp was limp and shivering. At that moment I wanted so badly, a time machine, so I could wind ten years back so I could my healthy grandmother again. I hate myself for not spending enough time with her, for walking past her room door every morning without talking to her first. For putting school over her in my list of priorities.
I love my grandmother very much, more than the ocean loves the shore, more than words can describe and God I beg of you, to not take her away.