Grams passed away.
(I don't want to go all emotional here so I will keep it short.)
I could say that grams (or "ama") and I were pretty close especially after coming back from Canada. She was a staple in my life and with every Sunday to her place for dinner...it was not a surprise that there was a bond that we both shared. Grams was the listener and would give advices. She would invoke concern when she sees something coming up.
Grams love traveling and seeing the world. She would invite anyone who can go to go with her on various tours when she was able and unhindered by her leg pains. She and I would go take trips back in 2000.
Grams was pure inspiration for me...even if some of her teachings are pretty old school like a girl's place at the end of the day is at home with the kids --> though very true in the end. No one askes a housewife for her CV and her work experience years don't really count in the end when you have kids. It's the path and growth of your kids that people do see at the end of the day. Grams was the one important person who supported and allowed me to come work in HK at the end since my father was totally against the whole moving out of Manila when I had a good stable life and job. Grams' word is law in our family thus I was able to come and experience life away from my parents and relatives before getting married.
Grams last visit to HK was nice but short. She and I had our differences but I know that she loved and cared for all of her grandchildren in her own way. She was cranky in the latter part of her year because of her pains and health problems and I learned to be a lot patient in everything. I still feel a bit guilty that we did have a fight on the way back to Manila on that leg.
Grams really fell sick early this year that resulted to her having to stay in the hospital almost all three months. Even after all the pains, tests, examinations, there was no peep of complaint or word of question by grams to the doctors and their actions or treatments. She did was she was told with no arguements and contradictions. She took it all in stride and without uttering any pain. The doctors had operated her so many many times. It was one problem after another. It was basically grams' body giving up on her than her mind. She was as sharp as 20/30 years ago. She would be wise-cracking and all till the end of her days drew closer.
On my last visit and grams was conscious and in the hospital, it really pains me to see her all tubed and hooked up to machines...someone who used to hike various caves/temples/scenic sites with me in Vietnam/China or check out the Kunming Flower Festival in 1999.
Then the dreaded news...
(**note that I always believe that grams would pull it off in the end since she always seems to have done it in the past...she was going to come back to HK and get her dress made for my wedding. Never in my whole life would I have counted what I got.)
My mom's SMS text to me:I was rushing to work to have read it with the correct frame of mine. It wasn't until my mom called me up at the office that things started to sink in and I basically broke down and couldn't control my emotions. There was a moment of denial for me since I was told the night before that grams was in good spirits and that the treatment was turning out well. She was laughing and joking around. It was alike a big party in her room...then to crash like this.
"Ama's heart stopped during the night. She was
resucited and is now on artificial respirator."
- sent 16 March 2007,
Mom said that maybe it's was grams' way of giving it "one last horay" to remember by.
As per what I was told, grams woke up with violent coughing and was helped by an aunt and the attending nurse in her room. Her heart rate was low and when the nurse was going to find a doctor to help, grams held the nurse back telling her that the doctors aren't of any use. While the nurse still went out to look for the doctor, grams' heart stopped at past 12am, March 16. She was then revived a few minutes later by some residents/doctor but grams was already unconscious for while and it was believed that her brain has been affected. Grams never work up from this incident.
My father initially told me to just come for the funeral. My mom wanted me to get there as soon as possible instead since it would still mean that grams is still breathing...though not on her own anymore...but still to see her alive than in a coffin is what mom believes to be more meaningful. Mom said that the sons and daughters might be deciding on grams' that weekend. I took the earliest flight I could take upon my parents confirmation that I come back. The rest was a whole lots of emotional ups and downs that I would rather not venture else I wouldn't be able to finish this short update.
The Buddhist monks told our family that grams is very fortunate to have lived a fruitful and colorful life. Grieving a lot might give grams a heavy-heart in leaving us and moving on to her next life...with grampa.
Don't worry about us, Ama. We will be fine. You can now keep grampa company since he's been waiting for you all 30 years of his life. We have had you for so long...it's now his turn to have you. I'm sure he missed you a lot too. Hope that you are finally happy to see and experience so much in life. I am very happy that you now do not feel any pain anymore. You and grampa are very much invited to be with me and Ed on our wedding day and have as many changes as you want like a typical Chinese bride (though I won't be changing anymore...just you, if you want) . I'm sure that I will always feel both your presence in my life from here on out. I will miss you a lot.
--> never knew that you were the one who picked my names after all...one of the hardest Chinese characters to write
Chan Hoan Tee (1921-2007)
* lived through five (5) generations, no #4 for Chinese
* given birth to five (5) sons, two (2) daughters
* generation continues with twenty-one (21) grandchildren and three (3) great grandchildren
* photo circa 2006 January