Life in M'sia · Christianity · Code

A tribute to Grandma

Apr 26, 2014

I am glad that I managed to visit my grandma in UH one last time on Thursday evening. She was asleep. At one point her eyes were open, and I faced her to look at her, and she at me. But she didn't utter a word, and her eyes soon closed again.

I didn't expect her to go so soon. On Tuesday when I visited, her oxygen level was unusually high in the 90s, and she showed great rigor in trying to untie herself from the bed. It was a vast improvement from days earlier. I thought that she might have a chance to go home.

I heard stories of how some nurses uncompassionately mistreated my grandmother during caregiving. If my aunt were not at UH with her, I have no doubt that my grandmother would have passed away earlier. I wonder if we could have given her better care elsewhere.

My grandmother was a fighter. Ask any nurse or doctor on 11th floor of Menara Utama in University Hospital, and they will tell you the same. Doctors would come and be surprised that she was still around.

Our family had time to prepare for this. We saw the gradual deterioration, and there was even one or two false alarms. But she kept on fighting. She kept on holding on.

But for the past two days before her passing, tears fell from her eyes. She didn't want to let go, but her body was failing. She could not breathe properly without an oxygen-fed mask.

On Thursday, as my aunt told her that even if she went home she would still not be able to eat, drink, or even breathe normally, maybe my grandmother finally realized that she had reached a dead end in trying to go back to her earthly home. Maybe she longed to go home to Kajang, to see the house and the dog one last time, and perhaps to even one day see me get married. Maybe she could not face the fact that life on earth would really come to an end.

I am thankful that during my first year back from studying overseas, I had a job that allowed me to work from home every Wednesday. I took the opportunity to visit my granny's every week, and work remotely from there. She would often ask me the same questions every week, as she could neither remember that I had graduated from college, nor that I was now working. In her mind, I was always a little boy. I tried my best to answer all her questions, but many times I failed to keep my patience.

She was my dearest and last remaining grandparent. She spoiled me when I was younger. She always sided with me. "Mama's house" was often my retreat from this crazy world for many years. I could run there and be safe and sane.

I have never seen her lose her temper. She was meek, full of the joy of the Lord, and she never failed to read the bible daily. She loved me dearly, and I shall miss her very much.

And so my grandmother, in her earthly dead end, remembered an Almighty God who loved her so much that he died for her on a cross, that she may have eternal life. She thus chose to surrender herself into the arms of Christ, in whose rest she shall find everlasting peace.

May we also turn to God when we find ourselves in our earthly dead ends, because as God says in the Scriptures, "Never will I leave you nor forsake you."

Amen.