Aug 9, 2015

Ah Gong

24th January 1938 - 1st August 2015

Dearest ah gong, you are forever in loving memory. 

It was a Saturday night when I first receive the news of ah gong's passing. The previous day, Friday, I was sick the whole day up until Saturday morning. I first received the news when I was driving, picking up Esther from tuition where my aunt back in hometown called us saying grandpa might have passed on already. By that time Esther answered the call. And my aunt say that he might have only. She mentioned the doctor couldn't find his pulse. Minutes after, ah gong passed away. He left the world at approximately 6pm.

Mom and dad came home at 7pm approximately, by that time Esther and I were already packing and getting ready to return to hometown. When mom reached home, immediately I went to gave her a hug. We both stood there hugging each other crying. Apple was confused as to why we were crying so she said, "Mommy, da jie, why are you crying?". 

We continued on packing. Mom had prepared dinner for the family beforehand, she cooked grandma's chicken rice. Everyone was calm, eating and exchanging words. We left KL to Pahang not long after.

As we arrived, we saw many men setting up tents outside the house, doors were all open, the whole house were lit up. In the house we went and we saw our relatives and also a coffin. Ah gong put on his best suit, I recognize that suit that he wore on my cousin's wedding. People put on make up for him, even comb his hair but not the way he used to comb though! My aunt said he looked handsome. Yes he does :)

The next morning more arrangements were done. Ah gong was placed outside of the house, surrounded by lamps and curtains and flowers. It was my first time witnessing something like this. Men were walking in and out, getting things ready. Other relatives came the next day too. It was actually very heart warming that everyone back at hometown together.

When grandma passed away, I was at a very young age. Probably 6 years old. I could only remember seeing popo in the coffin with the help of dad carrying me up. That was the only memory I had at popo's funeral. I also remembered mom crying when she received the news through the phone by my uncle. But at ah gong's funeral, I am very aware of things. This time around, I was in charge of collecting 白金 with my cousin. The whole big family helped each other in every other way. Go teamwork. Dad was in charge of handling the obituary, corresponding with the newspaper people and making sure every detail published was correct.

 On the second night, the grandchildren were told to gave eulogy if we could. I stepped up to gave on alongside with a video. Esther did too. The night started as usual, with some church service because my grandpa was a Christian. Then later on, my eldest aunt who stayed with ah gong gave her eulogy followed by my second uncle. Then it was the grandchildren's turn. Ah gong have a total of 8 children and 15 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. I was the 13th. My 14th cousin was first, followed by Esther and then myself. My cousin gave such a beautiful eulogy.

Initially my eldest aunt who gave her eulogy started crying,which then gave a domino effect to all the ladies in my family. I was on the verge of crying as well but I held back. Then when Esther went up, she immediately cried when she said hi to everyone. She was constantly crying when she gave her eulogy, making it harder for me to hold up. But I know if I let it out that time, I wouldn't be able to talk later and so I gave my eulogy without crying.

My eulogy started something like this...
I repeated some things that was spoken by Esther as she was sobbing when she talked.

We grew up without knowing my dad's parents because they passed away at a very early age, Even my dad couldn't recall much of them. So this leaves us to my mom's side. My memory of grandma would be, during Chinese New Year she will be the one cooking all the delicious food. Grandma always overworked herself too though. For grandpa, we spent a lot of time with him. This was all thanks to my dad for emphasizing how important is it to treasure the time spent together while they are still with us. I have clear memories of ah gong for the past several years.

I had the chance of decorating the Christmas tree with him together with Apple and Esther. He will always belanja us mamak when we go back home, often asking if we are full or hungry or if we have eaten. He would often go for evening walks, sweating so much and then later return home for dinner with a very very very big appetite. Ah gong appetite is no different to a young man. He eats a lot and his favourite food is siu yok (bbq pork). Often after church service he would be really hungry and asks me to take some food for him. We have leftovers from dinner, knowing that ah gong will come back for round two. So I remember moments where I take food for him and sat at the dining table in the kitchen, accompanying him. I try to talk to him when he eats, I tried to talk hakka. We would exchange some words but most of the time I will stared at him finishing the food in records time haha.

I remember a time when we went for an evening walk together. There were this long flight of stairs We walked up the stairs together and I mentioned I wanted to be a pharmacist. And when I manage to earn my own money, I will give ah gong some as how he always give me. I just got my acceptance letter to enter degree in pharmacy on the 3rd of August. 

Ah gong is someone I really treasure in my life, he was the only one who gave me the feeling of being a grandchild. I thank him for that. Thanking him for all the care throughout the years. I'll be remembering him as a very happy-go-lucky man :)

Ngai oi ni ah gong.

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