Thursday, May 26, 2005

She's gone...

Anyways, I've been writing this for awhile. It's kinda difficult to write this stuff you know. But today is her 100th day leaving us. So here's the story...

I'm sure many of you already know this by now. My grandmother passed away peacefully at her home (Sg. Chua, Kajang) on 17/02/2005 Thursday (9th day of CNY also The New Year for the Hokkiens) at about 3:00pm. She was 82. She died of 'heart failure'. Don't get the wrong ideas here... it's not heart attack lar. The doctor said that 'heart failure' was the technical term they use. In fact it's the slowing down of her heart.

12/02/2005 - Saturday (4th day of CNY)

We had a CNY dinner at Fortuna Restaurant with 'yee sang' and 8 course meal. We had about 3 tables with the the whole family - uncles, aunties, cousins, father, mother, brother, sister, grandfather and grandmother. The atmosphere of the dinner was a very happy and a lively one. We lou yee sang, we ate, we laughed, we took lots of pics, we caught with latest stories, etc.

Our grandmother's face looked very red (probably sick?) but she insisted on attending the CNY dinner because being with the family is the most important to her. Glad she went and she was very happy. We all had a great time there. But, this dinner turned out to be the last dinner we had with our beloved grandmother and it's the last time I saw her before she passed away.

13/02/2005 - Sunday (5th day of CNY)

Nothing much happen on this day.

14/02/2005 - Monday (6th day of CNY, also Valentine's Day)

My grandmother said she has difficulty breathing. We rushed her to the hospital and the doctor and nurses did some medical checks on her. All the medical checks gave negative result. Since everything was fine, the doctor allowed my grandmother to go home. And so we brought her back.

15/02/2005 - Tuesday (7th day of CNY, also Yan Yat aka People's Day)

Nothing much happenned today. Had a 'yee sang' dinner with my parents and a uncle's family staying in PJ.

16/02/2005 - Wednesday (8th day of CNY)

My grandmother was having breathing problems again. To make matters worse, she was weak and fell two times. This time, it's worse and rushed her to the hospital by ambulance.

The doctor checked on her again. This time the doctor said the heart was slowing down and she will be transfered to the heart department. And since her condition have not improved, she was later transfered to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).

17/02/2005 - Thursday (9th day of CNY, also The New Year for Hokkiens)

My parents came home from the hospital about 3:00 am. Then the hospital rang up an hour later and informed my parents to go to the hospital. The doctor informed that she is very weak and old (she's 82) and they can't perform any surgery on her. Later, the doctor told us he had done his best and will not last till the end of the day.

Since she was not very conscious, and after a long discussion, all the brothers and sisters decided to bring her back home. (She did inform us that she would like to pass away in the house long long time ago). After all the procedure, we brought grandmother home using ambulance and with some oxygen tanks, ECG and other equipments. Then, my father called me to go back to Sg. Chua to see my grandmother for the last time.

So I left work, and I was rushing home from work to fetch my brother and sister to see my grandmother for the last time. But it was too late already, when I reached home, my father called that grandmother has already passed away (about 3:00pm). She passed away peacefully on her bed after arriving at her house about 10 minutes. And oh yeah, she died smiling. (A lot of people said that it's a blessing when a person dies smiling).

My brother, my sister and I rushed home to Sg. Chua and the atmosphere was sombre. It's a sad, sad, sad day for us all. Everyone was weeping. Eventhough grandfather looked strong and didn't cry in front of us, I know he is crying in his heart and the saddest person in the family. And I will always remember this day. And the wheather was kinda funny - it's a sunny and hot day in the morning and afternoon. And in the evening it rained and stopped about 3 times. Kinda like the God is also weeping 3 times.

Also when we arrived, they already engaged undertaker services. Since, our grandparents are a very respected couple in the small village of Sg. Chua, we tried to make as grand as possible. Overall their service is quite fast except for the tent they built. It took so long. We also had a newspaper annuoncement in one of the Chinese dailies.

Later when the casket arrived, the undertakers took grandmother's body and put it into the casket with dry ice and we are not suppose to look while they are doing that because it will bring bad luck to us. After that, we 'jong heong' (put josstick) and prayed for her. Later we started folding and burning paper money for her (I was wondering will she receive it but this is Chinese tradition, just follow lo, don't ask so much! =X) This burning of paper money, the josstick and candle will continue to burn non-stop until the day of the buriel.

Folding paper money? Haven't fold before lar. Hmm... there's a few shapes and the harder shapes mean more money. And after a few tries, folding paper money was easy. Practice make perfect =) Oh yeah, we were on vegetarian food until the day of the buriel.

By this time also, I started to SMS people regarding my grandmother's death because I was going to have a party at my house on 19/02/2005 Saturday and invited quite a number of friends. Guys, thanks for replying back with your comforting messages.

About 3:00 am, I went back to PJ while other family members continued burning and folding. We have to pack our stuffs because we would be sleeping in Sg. Chua for the next few days. Went to bed about 4 plus.

18/02/2005 - Friday (10th day of CNY)

It's the same thing again. Continue to fold and burn. A lot of people and relatives (that I've never seen before) come over to pay their last respect and give donations (pak kam).

In the afternoon, we started prayers (da zhai). You have to do alot of praying and kneeling. It's long and I don't even know what the hell is the master (who's leading the prayers) are talking about. Some funny kind of language. Just follow only lar...

Prayers ended about 12 midnight. After some clean up. I'm off to bed, err i mean the floor. There was not enough bed around so most of us slept on the floor.

19/02/2005 - Saturday (11th day of CNY)

Continued prayers. People and relatives coming and giving their last respect giving donations. Flowers starts to arrive in a bunch.

In the evening, the master performed some acrobatic stuns. Then later we burned a bungalow, a mercedes car, a driver, a butler, a maid, astro, mahjong, cigarettes, plenty of clothes, tonnes of gold, and lots lots more (all made of paper). We burned all these at the park behind the house. It created a big ball of fire and we felt the heat eventhough we were standing quite far from it. After burning has complete, we went to sleep.

20/02/2005 - Sunday (12th day of CNY)

It was the windiest day of all days. We were preparing the neccessary stuff because today grandmother would be burried at the Nilai Memorial Park. After awhile, the music band arrives in style. Walau... the music they played damm rock lar... after some rock tunes, they started to play all those sad songs like 'Mama Hau' and others. Everyone started to shed tears and I never had so much tears rolling down my eyes before. Then all of the family assembled to see grandmother for the last time before they close the coffin. They put all the neccesary stuffs inside and sealed the coffin with super glue.

Then they brought the coffin outside for some prayers. We wiped the coffin with water and money (after-life bank notes). Wah! If real, that's gonna be so expensive. We not only wipe one or two times. Everyone wipe at least more than 10 times. Then we have all the guest and relatives pay their last last respect.

After all that, they carried the coffin into the van and ready to go. We walked for about 1 km and then the bus picked us up. We reached the Nilai Memorial Park an hour later.

Reaching there, we prayed to the gods there and we have a drink and light lunch. After lunch, about 12:30pm we arrived at the burial site. At about 1 pm (good time according to the master) the coffin was lowered into the hole and we gave our last bow and grab some soil and throw it onto the coffin and walked away without looking back.

After all that, we got onto the bus and got back to Sg. Chua. We have another prayer and later change into red clothes and wear cogs (wooden slippers). Then we started hanging red cloth on top of the door. And we have a feast! Isn't that ironic? Our grandmother just pass away and we are having a some sort of party. Well, the master say, after the burial, it's a happy moment, we must do all these. Well that's tradition. The master also mentioned that we have to leave for before 6pm. So after taking a long rest, we packed our bags and went home.

06/04/2005 - Wednesday

We had the 49th day prayers.

16/05/2005 - Monday morning (Teacher's Day)

Grandmother's tomb is ready. And the whole family have assemble and welcome her to a new home. We had so many stuffs there. The prayers was short, within 2 hours. The master thrown us some changs for good luck. We ate some of the stuff we brought. Finally, we even burn firecrackers before leaving!

26/05/2005 - Thursday

The 100th day our grandmother left us...

About my grandmother:

You know, my grandmother is very happenning person. She likes to smoke Salem and gamble ginrami. The food she cooks is absolutely delicious. She likes people to be around her. She likes to throw parties for her grandchildren. She likes to tell grandmother stories. Some are very educational and some are really funny. Like stealing techniques - During Chinese New Year, she was sharing with us how people steal from the market during the old times. Some of the techniques can really 'laff sei ngo'. One of the technique:

At the morning market

Customer : Hei, how much is this cabbages of vegetables?
Vege seller : RM 5.00
Customer : Okay! Please pack the cabbages and I'll be back in a minute.
Vege seller : Okay!

After five minutes

Customer : Hei where's my veges.
Vege seller : Here you go.
Customer : Hei where's the change?
Vege seller : What change?
Customer : I gave you RM50 just now what.
Vege seller : Really ar?
Customer : Yalor! You some more say my veges RM5 only.
Vege seller : Err... ya meh... here's your change RM45. (The vege seller got confused because there was too much people buy veges on that day)
Customer : Thanks, bye.

She's smart! Really smart! She can even do maths in her head eventhough she didn't receive any formal education. She's well travelled. She's hardworking. She's funny. She's everything! We'll really really miss you pohpoh!

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