Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sudden goodbye

I was shopping in IKEA when my mobile phone vibrated in the right pocket of my black Giordano hoodie. It was an SMS from Dad:

Yesterday, mum went to... On the way, she dropped in two see Grandparents. Both alert, she said. I'm in Tawau today. She just called to say that Grandpa has passed away.

I went blank for a bit and because I was in IKEA, I tried to contain myself. I did well until Mum returned my call and said this at the end of the conversation:

No need to fly back, okay? Gong-gong can't see or hear you anymore. When you come home next time, we will bring you to pay your respects to him, okay?

I replied with a mono-syllabled nod. I had to turn away to wipe the tears that were bulging at the edge of my eyelids.


I will always remember the added festive atmosphere of Chinese New Year that you never fail to create by coming home for reunion dinner half drunk from drinking beer at your mahjong sessions down at the kopitiam singing at the top of your endearing tenor voice.

I will always remember my first and only ride on your pink Mini Bus (yes, those that used to conquer the roads before RapidKL and Metrobus).

I will always remember the combination pork porridge you packed from that porridge stall at the Pasar Besar Serdang to let me have as comfort food when I had fever.

I will always remember your jovial character and how you laid on the cool tiled floors with one leg crossed on the other while reading the papers.

I will always remember how you would jump up and ask, "Have you eaten? Want something to eat?" every time I come to visit you and called out, "Gong-gong!"

I am proud to have had the chance to be your granddaughter. May I have this honour again next life, please?

Love you, Grandpa.

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