5th December is a very special day, a special day of remembrance.
9 years ago in 2005, my dearest grandmother, my 阿婆 (pronounced 'ah bu' in Shanghainese) passed away suddenly, within 24 hours of fainting.
It was so sudden, very few in my family could accept it. No one expected her to leave so soon. She was the matron of my mum’s side of the family. She looked out us, she’s the one who always cooked our favourite Shanghainese foods, the reason why the family came together for weekly dim sum sessions.
阿婆 used to stay in Hong Kong, and when I used to stay there for the whole of the December holidays, we would do things together. She brought me for ice skating lessons, to the playground and the Peak Cafe at the Peak (long before the current shopping mall existed). She brought me to eat my favourite chestnut cake, even to her office or to my grqndfather's office where I would chase after the resident cat or spend the afternoon cutting pieces of silk cloth. I went everywhere with her. On the way home, I would often fall asleep on her shoulder, as the bus moved through the busy streets.
When I started working, I spent less time with her. But because she had moved to Singapore, I made it a point to have dinner with her, and to be with her. I'm glad that I made a trip to Shanghai with her to attend her grand niece's wedding. It was definitely time well spent with her.
But her passing was too sudden. On that fateful day, I was taking my Japanese language test. I didn't pass. Since then, I have stopped taking Japanese. It was too painful, and brought back memories. Perhaps one day, I may take it up again.
One of her greatest wish was to see me get married, and have great grandchildren. Sadly, that was not to be. If she was still around today, I think she will be extremely tickled by EV and AA.
I wish she was still around. There are still so many things I want to share with her. Mostly, my kids. I look at them and I wonder how things would be if she was still around. Perhaps we can even take our overdue trip to Beijing together.
I miss her, a lot. I guess in many ways, I'm still grieving, still wishing she was still around, still wanting to hold her hand as we chat. This year, I will buy her favourite yellow flowers again to visit her. It's something I've been doing every year since I said goodbye, a painful goodbye I will never forget.