My Grandfather Died « Little Girl In A Reverie





Sunday, October 02, 2005

My Grandfather Died

It was about 9pm and I was on the bus with Yan Rui and Jimmy coming back to KL for the weekend. My mum called me and said that my granddad went to the hospital but was not admitted after the doctor managed to stabilise his oxygen levels.

I then turned to Yan Rui and said, "My parents will be abit late because my grandfather went to the hospital."

Then I started to tell him about how my grand dad thought that he should not waste some of my grandmother's red hair dye and because his hair is white therefore it appeared to be flaming red. He had to wear a cap for a couple of days and didn't want to go out with us. We all had a good laugh about it but he himself did not find it very funny. It was RED. Told Yan Rui that my grandma's hair was voluntarily purple. We both shook our heads at my grandparents' hair styles.

Dad and mum came to pick me up from Pudu and we went to my Aunty's house to have a look at my grand dad. He looked shockingly yellow but assured us that he was fine. He did not look normal. I thought that perhaps the lighting was bad.

After supper, we left my aunt's place at about 1.15am. I indulged myself in the internet until the phone started to ring at 3am. My mum picked it up and apparently my grand dad was on the phone, asking if they could send him to the hospital.

They hurried over to my aunt's place and drove him to Sunway Medical. But 5 minutes before reaching the hospital, he became unconcious. His head plopped against the head rest of the front seat.

The doctors tried to revive him for an hour plus but was unable to do so.

I first got wind of it when my cousin Shevie smsed me at about 3.30am.

Shevie: "You heard the news?"
Me: "What?"
Shevie: "Yea yea sei jor ar". (Grand father passed away.)

I expected it. I really did. But it's still damn damn saddening to hear it for real.

I called my mum to confirm.

My Aunt came to pick me and my brother up and my poor aunt was reminiscing and crying while driving. I nearly wanted to take over the steering wheels. It was so heartbreaking at the same time.


He was wrapped in white clothe that was tied at the top of his head. We got the nurse to undo it so that we could see his face. My aunty was kneeling down and crying like a child. Within an hour plus, his face became swollen and yellow. So very different from how he looked when he was alive. I couldn't feel that it was him. It doesn't look like him.

You see, my grandfather nearly died at the age of 40 when he had tuberculosis of the back. It ate away bits of his backbone and therefore he is a hunchback. The upper part of his back was perpendicular to his lower back. He used to have to lift up his head(like how we would tilt our heads back) to do normal things like talking and other daily activities and it has become a norm to him.

So when he passed away, I don't know why but suddenly his back straightened out and his head was tilted way back due to the many years that he was in that position.
He's mouth was slightly opened and his tongue looked so dry... it was really scary.

The following day, he was sent home at about 1pm. The undertaker laid out mats outside his house and we were to kneel down while holding a joss stick each. Dad and his sister were crying like mad and so were we. It was made worse when the undertaker asked us to call out to him and ask him to come home. Sometimes chinese traditions can be so ....well...for use of a better word, unsettling.

He looked much much better in the coffin. He looked like himself. Heck, he even looked like he was smiling. Once I saw his body, I did not feel so agitated anymore. In fact, I felt relieved to see him back home as compared to the hours when he was kept in the hospital.

It's all too sudden really. He is 74 years old and yesterday he even drove down to Shah Alam to play mahjong and he could still do his gardening in the morning. It's the damn haze I tell you. He was diagnosed with Coronary Obstructive Pulmonary Disease(COPD) about more than a year ago. I remember reading about it in my A-levels biology book and usually old people do not recover from it. The cause of it? SMOKES. Fucking smokes. He had this machine called the oxygen concentrator but he was too stubborn to use it.

I want to heave a sigh but I am too tired to. The day before I only slept like 1 hour on the bus and after all the hustle and bustle to the hospital and back, we slept for two more hours before going back to his house in USJ3 to wait for his body.

Visitors streamed in around dinner time. Relatives and friends paid their last respects but like any other chinese wake, there were a smattering of laughter when old friends got together. I went around chatting with all the relatives. I talked so much and this morning I even woke up with a sore throat. 

Do you know that the prayers are the saddest part? You keep staring at the photo and you just think back about what he has done for you or what you have done together and the tears just start cascading down like waterfalls. We used his IC photo and he was never good at smiling but he did make a pretty good attempt to.

The heat from the flames distorted the air in front of the picture and it made it look like he was crying as well. Little did he know that he would just go like that. I wonder how he feels about that.

In times like these, I wish I had a huge family. I only have one brother and a cousin sister who is sitting for her PMR on Monday. The cremation's on Tuesday. Really worrying. When you have a huge family, the sadness is not so concentrated because at least you'll still have that silly cousin or aunty or uncle who will try to inject a little joy into the situation. Uncle, Aunty and Cousin sister went home to sleep. Brother and Mother went home to sleep.

As you know, all the boys in the family will have to stay with the deceased for the night right? Due to size of my family, it was only me, my father and my grandmother who stayed with my grand father last night. Dad was abit pissed to be left pretty much alone and so was I, but we were blaming the uncles and aunties and cousins that we never had. Strange feeling right?  The undertaker's underlings who were suppose to stay guard with us went out to fucken' yam cha and my dad nearly wanted to pass out due to more than 24 hours without sleep and I mean, we pay you money how can you be so irresponsible??!

I do miss my grandfather though. The most saddening part about it all is that he was not senile like most of the old men who leave their families.

He gave me a tin of biscuits that I did not like to bring to Kedah and it is still sitting in my kitchen in my hostel. He could still boil herbal soup for me and bring it to me during my national service stint and it tasted so good. So many recipes that I have not learnt from him yet. His chai choi during chinese new year will now be no more. I will miss hearing him rant about how stupid the government is and how the reckless drivers are "bloody bastards" and "stupid buggers." I will miss having him to make me watch tapes of me as a child and he would repeat himself about all the funny things that I did as a child. I will miss having him dropping by my house and forcing apples and oranges on me and lecturing me about how I'm too lazy to even wash an apple. He was my first example of a parent because my mum, dad and grandma were too busy to look after me.

Do you know how I felt when I opened the fridge to see leftover meals cooked by him days ago? He was still so able. 

So many things I will miss but of course I know that it's time to let go.

Isn't it heartbreaking to know that all of it would not happen anymore?

Jayelle's back and neck ached at 2:17:32 pm

October 5, 2005   05:11 AM PDT
I am sorry to read about your grandfather.

My deepest condolences to you and your family. Take care.
October 4, 2005   09:36 PM PDT
I remember meeting ur grandpa once.. long ago when i dropped by ur house to borrow ur yoyo.. =)

I know how u feel as I was the one who found my grandma unconcsious in the bathroom in the middle of the night.. as much as i've moved on, there are times when i really miss her presence.

be strong.. my sincere condolences to u and ur family.. *hugs*
October 4, 2005   06:09 PM PDT
I'm sorry for what happened. I understand how it feels to miss someone like that by looking or touching their left-behind stuff.. It just make your heart sore. It has been years since grandpa left us but till this very day, we still miss him alot. Be strong gal.. poeple come n go. *Pray for ya*
Miss SUNshine
October 4, 2005   03:29 PM PDT
my deepest condolences jolene. may he rest in peace, for we will all say a prayer for him and your family.
October 4, 2005   01:55 PM PDT
jo, sorry about ur grandpa...i know how u grandpa tat passed away was my favorite and closest grandparent... *hugs*
October 4, 2005   01:34 PM PDT
girl, i'm really sorry to hear about your grandpa. my sincere condolences to you and your family. my prayers and thoughts are with you. do take care. *hugs*
October 4, 2005   12:25 PM PDT
My deepest condolences to you and your family. *hugs* Take good care.
October 4, 2005   10:20 AM PDT
My condolences. You're one brave chick to blog about it. The first 2-3 weeks after my grandma passed away, I couldn't talk about it to anyone coz I knew I would tear and choke up...but time does heal.
October 3, 2005   09:35 PM PDT
What a coincidence. My granddad passed away when i was sitting for my upsr too. Oh gosh. That's such a long time ago but I still kinda missed him.
Anyway, be strong and live each day to the fullest!
PS~I like reading ur blog btw..mine is da above...
October 3, 2005   09:28 PM PDT
What a coincidence. My granddad passed away when i was sitting for my pmr too... But that's a long time ago. I stil miss him sometimes...
Be strong and live each day to the fullest! =)
October 3, 2005   03:03 PM PDT
I am sorry, Jolene. Be strong and remember all the good things about your grandpa. He will live on in your heart through them. Condolences to you and your family during this sad time.
October 3, 2005   02:07 PM PDT
i'm so sorry to hear that..take care jolene...
k' hong
October 3, 2005   06:52 AM PDT
stay strong alrite, no matter sunny or rainy days i am always here for u! that u can gurantee :) take lots of care...
October 3, 2005   04:12 AM PDT
that just made me cry. My condolences to you, too..
October 3, 2005   03:02 AM PDT
sorry to hear bout this... stay strong, your grandpa would want you to be happy too.. my condolences
October 3, 2005   02:46 AM PDT
My condolences...take care
October 3, 2005   01:17 AM PDT
oh my..i'm so sorry to hear about your loss, jolene. take care and stay strong!
October 3, 2005   01:09 AM PDT
so sorry to hear about this. anyway,, know you're strong jo..! if u need to talk or anything, do msg me in msn and would gladly give u a ring!
October 3, 2005   12:31 AM PDT
*sob* >.< so sad... feel like crying.. sorry to hear about it .. *hug*
October 3, 2005   12:19 AM PDT
I'm so sorry to hear abt the news...People come and go..Your grandpa will be in a better place..cheers~
October 2, 2005   11:49 PM PDT
jo, he might not be physically here but he will continue to live through your mind, your heart, your thoughts, and your memories. be strong okay der? lovya
October 2, 2005   10:28 PM PDT
i don't know how you do it. but you seem so strong.

take care gurl. and my condolences to you and your family.

this whole post is so heartbreaking.. hugs
October 2, 2005   09:52 PM PDT
i'm sorry jo for your loss. i understand how you feel. from the shock of the body to the small items that he gave you. memories rushing back. sigh. these things must happen. you're in prayer. *hugs*
October 2, 2005   08:57 PM PDT
so sorry to hear bout your grandpa jolene. *hugs*
Kenneth Chiew
October 2, 2005   08:11 PM PDT
Hey girl,

My condolences to you and your family. Most of time, life is unpredictable. Hope you, your dad and especially your grandma is not too sad over this.
October 2, 2005   05:50 PM PDT
Discovered your blog and had been back ever since coz u have such perky personality and that reflected in all your blog entries. Sorry to hear about your grandad. Reading your latest entry, I am relieved you still find life humour in the saddest circumstances.

Trust that you will do all right. All the best to you.... Take care.
October 2, 2005   05:30 PM PDT
darling jo,i am so sorry to hear matter what stay or sms me if there is condolences to you and your family
October 2, 2005   05:08 PM PDT
my deepest condolences
October 2, 2005   05:03 PM PDT
I am so sorry to hear that, Jolene. My condolences to u.
October 2, 2005   04:01 PM PDT
...moments of silence n hugs fer u
Giant Sotong
October 2, 2005   03:58 PM PDT
If you don't mind slimy tentacles, let Uncle Sotong give you a hug.

My condolences.
October 2, 2005   03:48 PM PDT
My condolence...
October 2, 2005   03:42 PM PDT
My condolences also...
October 2, 2005   02:52 PM PDT
im sorry dear. pls stay strong. *hugs*
October 2, 2005   02:31 PM PDT
Hey Jolene... I'm so sorry to hear about the demise of your grandpa.
May he rest in peace.
October 2, 2005   02:30 PM PDT
well sometimes when someone close to u in the family passed away. it's kinda hard to get away with it.. my grandpa passed away on in my dad's arms.. so it's kinda hard for him i guess..
but people come n leave ... it's all about.. how we appreciate them when they're alive..
October 2, 2005   02:29 PM PDT

I know first hand how you desensetize and displace yourself when it comes to cadavers and then it catches up to you all at once when a loved one dies...I feel you...and I feel for you...if I cant give you anything but an internet hug, then here it is...{{{HUG}}

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Hi, my name is Jolene and if there is a question in your head, this answer will definitely answer it: I was wrong and irrational. I was being a woman.

Jolene Lai, Jolene Lai,
Came to life in January and not July,
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My favourite posts:
Please Don't Take My Orange Away (9/03/05)
Flasher On MSN! (28/4/05)
Looking Back From Where They Left Off (8/10/05)
A Bottle Of My Bestest Friends In The Whole Wide World!(13/2/06)
Diary Extracts For Him From The Yesteryears (23/3/06)

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