Archive for February 2010

Grieving

February 28, 2010

I didn’t think it would be so hard for me.

I made R shut her bedroom door because I can’t bear to walk past her empty bed.

The nights are the worst.

I see and think of her everytime I shut my eyes.

I remember what we have been through together and how I have looked after her.

I laid awake through the night and got up at 6am to cry.

I woke R and we went for a long walk around the countryside at 8am and then to McDonald’s for breakfast.

It was the first time we went for a walk in months.

The air was cold and crisp and being a Sunday morning, there was hardly anyone about.

I needed the walk.

There are now just the two of us in the house now, but why don’t I feel happy that we now have more space and privacy?

We can now do whatever we want, go wherever we want, at anytime we like.

And yet nothing comes to my mind.

Bye love, for now

February 27, 2010

When we noticed her deteriorating suddenly, I prayed that she would die in her sleep. Peacefully, without any pain or struggle.

She did, in the middle of the night.

R woke me at 5.30am when he got up to get ready for work and said, “Mum died.”

She had a stroke the day we got back to the UK and never really regained consciousness since then. We knew things were bad, so we prepared ourselves, but no matter how much you tell yourself it’s going to happen, the pain and hurt which hit you when it does never seem to be any less.

The truth is, I think we all have had an exhausting four months. R had to come home a week early after we got married in October because his mother’s health took a turn for the worse. She remained bed-ridden at home since and we all took turns to be around her 24 hours a day.

It has been a challenging journey for me. I recall that on her first night out from hospital, she was confused and climbed out of the bed. She ended up on the floor, breathless and in distress. R was on a night shift so I was the only one around. With all my might I hauled her back into bed and at the end of it I was drenched in sweat. I was already 6 weeks pregnant then, but I did not know.

Sometimes she didn’t know whether it was day or night, whether I was a nurse or her daughter-in-law, whether she was in hospital or at home. She would imagine things and I have learnt to go along with her story rather than correct her because she would get agitated otherwise.

She told me once to go out of the house to run after a train with a glass of water, so I pretended I did. She told me there was something stuck underneath her table so I pretended to remove it. She told me she had made soup and it was in the fridge so I opened a tin of soup and pretended it was the one she cooked.

After she fell ill, R and I never really did anything spontaneous together anymore. If we wanted to go somewhere together, it would have to be planned a few days in advance so we could arrange for someone to be in the house. The last time we took a walk in the countryside was probably last summer. The last time we hit the gym together was before we got married.

Apart from going to work, we hardly went anywhere else. We looked after Mum’s meals and personal hygiene, kept her company, made sure she was comfortable. All this required so much patience and there were times when we got so tired, exasperated and frustrated when our efforts didn’t seem to pay off.

But as far as I could remember, she was ever so nice to me. She welcomed me to her home when I moved here in 2008, she shared her food with me and gave me money on my birthdays. She always told me she loved me like a daughter. She was always so generous and considerate.

She was a woman of few desires. All she ever wanted, was to be at home and around family. She wanted to be in her own house and bed as she entered the end of her life journey, and so no matter how hard it was for us to manage, we kept her here instead of taking the easy way out of sending her to the hospice.

I would like to think we did the best we could for her and did not let her down.

I stood by her bedside to touch her cold face and say my goodbyes. I could barely get my words out properly but I would like to think she knew what I wanted to say.

I would like to think she waited for us to come back from Singapore before slipping away.

I would like to think she went in peace and she is now at ease.

Goodbye lovely.

When we were home

February 26, 2010

We had a lovely, lovely time at home. It was a truly well-deserved break for R and I, especially our little two-day getaway to Penang.

The first week or so of our holiday was taken up by the CNY festivities. I pampered myself by getting my hair done at the hairdresser’s, going for my facial and getting a manicure and pedicure. We spent the first few days of CNY at home with my family, enjoying my mother’s delicious dishes, helping to organise a trip to HK and Macau for my mum and aunt, lounging around the house and R even got roped in to act in a short video for my aunt’s departmental lunch.

My mother wanted me to spend time tidying my room before CNY and look through my insurance policies to make sure they offer enough protection for me now that I’m having a baby. I managed to throw out quite a number of things in my room during the spring clean but my room still looks pretty much the same as before I got married and moved out and I kinda like it that way. It’s as if I never left and I can return to my cosy bed and room anytime I like.

I made a real effort not to over-burden myself with other commitments so I could stay home as much as I could during the two weeks. It was especially nice to catch up with the girlies, who despite their crazy, busy schedules, made time to visit us twice.

I think it was great that R made a real effort to join in the celebration and gatherings with my family and friends, because it has made him realise how important the festival is for us. He’s already booked time off with the hospital so he can come back next new year with me! Mind you, with all the sumptuous food my family feeds him with, it’s no surprise he can’t wait to go back!

Each time I have to leave, my heart sinks and this time is no different. It’s always when you go home when you realise what you are missing out and how much you want to be around your own family.

My mother took us to the airport and told R when we were about to go through the departure gates to “look after this stupid girl”. Then I joined the queue at the immigration counter, pretended to smile and wave enthusiastically while secretly wiping away tears as R sighed heavily. Then when my mother was out of sight, I cried in R’s arms.

A few moments later, my phone rang and it was my mum who said, “Turn around and look behind you!” She was standing on a glass bridge leading to the Viewing Gallery, waving at us. Oh my heart could have broken then. I’m just glad she’d be with us in UK for the summer, to welcome my little boy to the world.

It takes two

February 23, 2010

I can’t help but feel somewhat disappointed this trip.

Relationships need effort on both ends to maintain and this time I have realised who treasures what we have got and who doesn’t.

Years ago I would have continued to make the effort to stay in touch even if the other party remains passive throughout.

But as age catches on, I realise I haven’t got the same kind of energy, patience or naviety. I haven’t got the time and I now have other pressing priorities. I would rather invest in emotions and people who feel the same way toward me.

It took me 30 years to come this far.

过年,回娘家

February 19, 2010

带了亲自选购,自己包装的小礼蓝。

买了一株吉祥可爱的小橘子树。

第一年派红包,给的比拿的时候开心!

联合早报记者刘培芳说,年,就是家的感觉。有家的人要惜福啊!我同意不过。

明年和小不点一起过年,不知道又会是什么一种滋味。

Happy Year of the Tiger

February 17, 2010

Chinese New Year for me is about being with the family, stuffing my face with loads with food, dressing myself and the house in loud garish colours, playing and enjoying cheesy festive tunes. R spent days with me over meals with family and came visiting my relatives with me. I was so happy and overwhelmed to be home that I cried on New Year’s Eve! It’s so wonderful to be back home, seeing all the people I love and gorging on all the delicious local foods. I have been walking around with a silly contented grin plastered to my face from the day I arrived.

Home sweet home

February 9, 2010