As the years go by, the significance of the ritual seems to dwindle, and instead, I get a sense of peace. It's still painful to think about how he left sometimes, but it all seemed so distant to me by now, as if it can't hurt me anymore.
Here's a picture of my grandfather, just in case anyone is curious.
Like what I've always said, he's sort of like the hero in my life, in my eyes.
He was the guy who smoked, but could have the determination to quit the instant upon request. He was the one who made me felt loved amongst so many grandchildren of his. He was the person who cared that I greeted him when visited and before leaving his apartment at Lorong Ah Soo.
Even in the last few years of his life when dementia won the battle over him, all it takes to brings peace to me was a look in his eyes. Those eyes were so deep, it felt like... my problems became so insignificant. He made me feel loved and safe.
He left on 8th January one year when I was still in primary school, in the morning at 9.30am, between a break when a nurse was changing his breathing pipe. In between the process of taking out the pipe and putting it in, he breathed his last.
For years, I've blamed myself, because 9.30am was my recess time, and I blamed myself for not being by his side. When he breathed his last, I was in school running around with my friends during the meal break.
It has been almost ten years, and I still can't really get over the fact that he's gone. Sometimes when I feel really depressed, I would even cry. And on important occasions like my graduation, birthday and the day I got my first job, and then my first pay, I wished he was still here to be proud of me.
It had been really easy to say, all my grands had left me. But that's just verbal an expression. There's no word to describe the missing pieces in my heart and soul. But I'm stronger now. I realised not to blame myself- I was ignorant that he left during my recess time. I realised that it's memories of him that no one could take away from me. I've grown up and became stronger a lady.
And then this other photo of my grandfather surfaced.
This photo was taken in the balcony of my home, as you may see the distinct green tiles in the background. The person behind him was our maid hired to take care of him, Mastura. She was great towards him, and in a way, was the woman behind this hero for the last few years of his life.
Here's a really sad story behind this photo though.
For the many years he was with us, my uncles and aunt never visited.
Every now and then in the mornings, the maid would help him wash up, shave his sideburns and whatnot, put him in nicely ironed clothes, and wheel him to the balcony.
Doors opened, in hope of seeing one of his children coming to visit him.
However small a dash of hope, the dear maid never gave up. No one knows if my granddad knew anything, but it remained a pain and anger for me, that his children never once came to visit their dear father.
It's such a depressing thought if you put yourself in his shoes- how would you feel if you're old and sick, and everyday you sit by the door hoping to see them coming to visit, and all you got was day of disappointment after day of disappointment?
With that thought, I am almost relieved that at least he was too ill to acknowledge that kind of pain.
Even when he left, I felt a sense of relief afterwards, knowing the wait was over, knowing that the pain was over.
What life had it been, with just lying on the bed, endless waiting and just being fed through tubes to stay alive?
Haven't wrote such a close-to-heart entry in ages, and just felt like... I had to do it tonight. Even though it's 3am now.
I don't think there's ever going to be any love as great as what he had for me.
Cherish your dearies while they are around. Let there be no regrets nor pain.