Let Grandma Walk Again! 

My eyelids are heavy and yet I just cannot sleep. While I tossed and turned in my own bed my thoughts wandered to my grandma who is currently confined to the hospital bed, having had a fall last week. 

I just visited her this afternoon and while she did look better she was showing some signs of confusion, repeatedly forgetting that she was in the hospital. We are all thankful that she sustained only a slight fracture in her hip and therefore does not require surgery, which would have been perilous for someone at her age. 

But it still saddens me to think of her in the cold hospital. Especially when she had ruefully said a couple of times after the fall, “If I had not fallen I would still be able to bathe myself and then comb my hair and powder my face before going out to the living room to watch the television.”

I could sense the longing in her voice – for her old routine and the simple pleasure of independence – and my heart ached. 

This is the woman I had spent my earliest years with, the first victim of my earliest childhood pranks, the person I had called in desperation when I got into a huge disagreement with my parents at the age of 18 and felt like I had nowhere to turn for help. And when I had a break up four years ago, she was the one who cried! 

To chronicle the sweet moments with her from my toddler years I would have to write a mini novel. 

Earthly life is not forever and I know we all have to say goodbye to our loved ones sooner or later, but I guess I will never ever come to a stage where I am ready to let my grandma go. I pray that she will have many more good years ahead, perhaps till 100; after all her own mother lived till the nineties. 

Maybe it is just my conscience bugging me, telling me that I had not spent enough time with her. I could have visited her more since she had been staying with my uncle whose house is near mine. 

I had witnessed my grandma age over the decades, from a woman who was strong well into her late seventies, caring for my grandpa till he died, despite being on insulin for diabetes. Then she began to need the walking stick…and now she is temporarily immobile and confined to the hospital bed.

It got me thinking of the inevitable eventuality…and of life and the impermanence of it all. And how I would miss her when she eventually has to leave. 

How can I not? She is such a big part of my life. She babysat me till I was five. And frequently stayed over with us through my childhood and teenage years. Having grandpa and grandma over was such a happy thing that I looked forward to. She had amazing cooking skills and whipped up traditional recipes from scratch. My brother and I used to watch her slave over the traditional charcoal stove that she used to make sticky glutinous rice cake for Chinese New Year, tirelessly stirring the hot sticky concoction before pouring into individual containers to cool. 

She cared for my grandpa for decades, unconditionally and uncomplainingly. Theirs was an arranged marriage, and by his thirties my grandpa had gotten ill and lost his ability to work. My grandma took care of his every need and raised his six children, and they all went on to succeed in their fields. My dad often says, “Growing up in a kampong house with a muddy floor, I never imagined I would one day own the properties I do today.” 

My grandma used to eat as richly as she used to cook. I loved her hand pounded sambal belacan and various hot and spicy Thai-influenced dishes. And nyonya kuihs. I have no idea where she learnt to make all those things that she sadly doesn’t have the physical strength to make anymore now. I must ask her when I see her tomorrow. 

Then diabetes caught up with her and I watched her let go of her love for rich and sweet foods. And jovially embraced a bland and restricted diet. 

She loved looking pretty in her youth and still loves commenting on my shoes, accessories and makeup (or more often than not, the lack of). Once I showed her a new handbag I bought from Mango – a bright turquoise shoulder bag in faux patent leather and she nodded in approval agreeing that it was gorgeous. Another time she browsed along with my sister and I when we were looking at luxury handbags online, giving her opinion. 

She also cared for my late greatgrandparents till their very last breaths. My greatgrandpa suffered from cancer for almost a year before he passed away and my grandma was his primary caregiver. 

I miss the sight of my grandma strolling out of her room with the aid of her walking stick, dressed in her button-down blouse and sarong. I said a prayer for her about an hour ago, then I heard from a cousin that she was able to sit up this evening. 

That brought me some comfort. And having grandma in hospital now…is just another reminder of what true priorities in life should look like. 
Stroll

How to Walk in Love

During my quiet time today I asked the Lord how to walk in love. Especially when it gets hard. “I need You to enlarge my heart,”I told Him.

And then He said to me, “Any believer who desires to love the way Jesus does needs to first get their own restoration and healing…a wounded heart cannot expand and let others in. A broken arm cannot embrace.”

And that was why Jesus was wounded on the cross…so that we may be healed.

Isaiah 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

(Holy Bible, New International Version)

 

 

When Love Was Absent

You, my regret and my joy

I am sorry you partook in my pain

An unwitting recipient you were

Of my mess, my angst, the weakness that was me

Now that I have got me made right

You will partake in my strength

The grace I have come to know, really know

I will love you with all my heart

Take a break when it gets too much

But I will always bounce back

I will always be here

Because I can love you

Now that I love me, too.

 

Hate is the absence–not the opposite–of love. Those who know love can never hate, just like how having light exempts us from darkness.  

What the Heart Really Wants

Umm
To be heard
When I speak
To be noticed
When I sigh
To be needed
When I give
To be caught
When I leap
To be loved
When I fall short
To be welcome
When I bring nothing
To be seen
When I smile
To be embraced
When I am tired
To be missed
When I am absent
To be cherished
When I am old
To be mourned
When I am gone
To be remembered
When I no longer am.

Are you
Any different
From me?

Freedom to Love

“Freedom is the ability to pause.” – source unknown

Damn amygdala
And the failure that was me
To stop the primitive in its track.

Too many perceived attacks
Caused me to react
And hearts – including my own
To bleed, and crack.

My claims of love
Empty lip service
How could I love
And let my words
Pour out in torrents
Like a heavy nasty rain
Bringing forth a flood of sadness
I get drowned myself
In the end.

If a hug could tell you, and you, and you, and you
How sorry I am
It would be tight, long, moist with remorse
Resigned to damages done
And an unchangeable past
It would be warm with some strange comfort
That the villain of old…has awakened
I hope she hasn’t taken too much toll.

Those who hurt, hurt others
So they say
I had those inner landmines removed
The amygdala no longer reigns supreme
I seek freedom from me
Now I bow to choice
And it tells me to simply pause.

When I am at a standstill
That’s when I see you
And remember to love you
Despite me and you and everything in between.

Love You Better

I won’t take your burdens as my own
Because then they weigh me down
And I can no longer
Help you stay afloat.

I will partake in your pain
Cry real tears with you
Try–and walk in your shoes
So I know how it hurts.

Not tell you how you err
Or ply you with advice
Should’s, could’s, and must’s
No, but I will point you towards Love
With faith that there you will find hope.

This way I remain buoyant in joy
So I can always help you stay afloat.

Love Myself First

I want to
Put my arms around you
Hug away the pain
Deflect the confusion
So that
Away from my embrace
You are strong
Happy, fearless

I want to
Listen without judgment
Walk a mile in your shoes
Experience your journey
Feel all that you feel
Answer all your questions
Till you don’t
Feel so alone

I want to
Let my strength
Rub off on you
So you walk on
With your head held high
And a heart full of might

I want to
But I fail…because
On life’s trail
Barely enough
Is the strength
For my fallible self

Sorry I failed you
But let me first
Love myself
So then I can be to you
All that you need me to be.

“Love your neighbour as yourself.” Mark 12:31

When Mom and Dad Weren’t Around

20140810-212411.jpgToday I went over to my parents’ place to collect some things. They happened to be out so the house was empty.

Empty–and yet so full of their presence, and all the things that were ‘them’. The sound of the running water from the pond, which my dad enthusiastically maintains, with the fishes swimming inside that all of us enjoy just watching.

Dad’s golf set, often carelessly left leaning against the shoe cupboard. Mom’s books on the coffee table in the living area. Framed family photographs–including the one of mom’s Masters’ graduation. Both their laptops, always on the dining table! Vintage items like a radio and charcoal iron that Dad insists are highly prized collectibles, his various golf trophies and the framed Hole-in-One cert from that many many years ago. And newspapers strewn all over.

I took in all that and got a little sentimental. Especially when I opened the fridge and saw the remnants of the herbal concoction from last night — made for me by mom to remedy my persistent cough. And when I saw the stylish reversible sling bag that dad gave me.

This was home–and in the quiet it suddenly felt full of love. They were all over the place–signs of how much they love me, my brother, and my sister.

And I realized one day this house would be permanently empty when the day comes that they are no longer around for good, when the cycle of life runs its course as it will for all of us.

I resolved to be more appreciative, less difficult. I felt sorry for all the times I complained about what they did which I did not agree with. Even on things about my upbringing.

Well mom and dad, I am sorry, especially mom. For all the things I said you did wrong, there were far more that you have done right. And most importantly, those things were your very best.

Happy Birthday in advance and I love you both!

Where have you been dear one?

Love is free… To mature, grow its roots, and blossom when time and space are right 🙂 A beautifully written poem by Oliana.

Traces of the Soul

Where have you been dear one?
I have missed you so much
thought you had left me and gone
but no, here you are once again
making my heart pitter patter
feeling my soul flutter
especially when you grin,
as if I’d committed
some outrageous sin
and you praise my bravery
my shocking behaviour
and I feel like none other
but your only true love.
Where have you been dear one?
how long will you stay…this time
before you flee and are up and gone
once again?

*

(senryû)

lovers reunite
do not cling, nor make promises
love is simply free

(c) Oliana ’14-08-08

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