Was managing my ‘To Blog’ folder (where all my inspiration to blog are kept as drafts, mostly incomplete, yet to translate to complete blog posts…it’s been years…sigh) and came across this one complete post below.
It was written just after I’ve resigned from my first job, I remember.
9th July 2013, 12 55 pm
Weather: uber hot and sultry afternoon (I’m sweating)
I’m now sitting in the living room of my grandmother’s friend’s house in Section 17. It’s the house that we send her to and pick her up from almost every other day.
It’s quite a sight really, 4 to 5 old women (literally from the ages of 70s to late 80s) gathered in this house (which is pretty cosy inside, may I add) to play mahjong and just chit chat. The host who’s in her late 80s lives on her own, and despite her old age she is still so agile. She has problem with her hearing, and very often you can see the rest talking to her in a pitch louder as if they are quarreling, but in fact they are not. The rest of the women converse in Hokkien and Cantonese, sometimes a jumble of this 2 dialects.
As I write this, we are all well-fed from the lunch the host (and I, assisting) cooked in the kitchen. It’s amazing how independent and strong she is at this age to still be able to cook up a meal for a group of people, albeit a small group! We had this fish soup which apparently replaces blood into your body and funnily, I feel fresher now. This fish is only sold once a week at the nearby market! My lucky day today, I guess. Wish I could snap a picture of the women in front of me so focused on their gin rummy game now, unfortunately (or fortunately) I left my mobile phone at home.
Now why am I here, you may ask? Of the years that I drop my grandma off here, I have never once stepped foot inside. And hence I never understood the joy that it brought to my grandma by just spending afternoons in the company of her pals. You see, when we do not immerse ourselves into the shoes, activities, or life of others; we will never be able to comprehend the impact or meaning it brings to them. Sometimes even after immersing we may not be able to understand fully, but after witnessing at least we now know and respect the choices, preferences of the other party.
A month back, my grandmother was robbed at the roadside of Section 17. It was very much daylight still in the evening, and she was just stepping out from the chinese herbal store – when a dude on motorbike robbed her bag off her. She fell on the floor on her hips. This has resulted in her fracturing her pelvis, and after admission the specialist said it will take 3 months for her bones to heal, in order for her to be able to walk again.
I can still remember the weekend after she was first discharged from the hospital. She started acting a little different. Her reactions and responses were slow, she would doze off after a few minutes, she slurs in her words, her hands are shaky, and worse of all – she doesn’t remember my name! It’s as if she has lost it momentarily. My mother was so afraid that she had hit a mild stroke. I panicked deep inside me though I did not show to any of my family members.
Long story cut short, after admitting her for the second time (in a different hospital now), turned out there was no internal bleeding in the brain (a huge relief for us), and confirmed that it was not a stroke. Her blood pressure just decreased hugely due to trauma caused by the fall; and she had an urinary infection, probably due to her always holding back her urine.
It was during that weekend when she seemed not herself that it really hit me… wake-up call. Memory took me back to those times I have been treating her unpleasantly… after work, stressed tired, old people they may get naggy… I got annoyed easily. I guess now I have learned to be more patient with her… Sometimes loving someone. My mother tells us that we are very fortunate that mama is still mobile and able to walk, for assuming the day that she is unable to, things will get inconvenient for us.
Throughout this period my mother has once again been a hero. She has been there for us kids, my father, my grandmother; I always wonder how does she manage to handle so much on her plate. Resourceful, efficient, a very good heart, has empathy, compassionate, selfless…. managing our household, her business, investments…
OK, grandma is giving me the signal that she wants to go back now. I kinda had a good time here, on my own doing my reading, writing; and sorta watching the elders mingle…. I might come back! It will be refreshing and enlightening for us young ones to spend some time out of our busy schedules to see how the old ones live.