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

Solitude, Silence and Sufficiency

What a bittersweet season this is. And one full of contradictions.

I am feeling melancholic, and yet I feel joy bubbling deep inside of me. 

There’s a sense of lethargy over things that I have tolerated that I do not want to tolerate anymore. At least for now. A sense of loneliness from the disconnection that I feel with people who are supposed to be close to me but:

Talk way more than they listen. Conversations with them leave me feeling like something is wanting, in contrast to feeling uplifted. I am often told I am a good listener, but I am not a martyr. So for this season I am not all ears to some people. By choice. 

Patronize. Giving unsolicited advice, or making remarks consisting of such rudimentary information that they are effectively saying:”I know better than you” – when I was just looking for an intelligent exchange of thoughts among equals. Maybe in their eyes I am not their equal. So I will not even try to be. 

Drain me while expecting me to lift them up with my enthusiasm and appetite for the unconventional. It is as if my adventures are entertainment for them, witnessing things that they would not have dared to attempt themselves, while they pour out their fears and pessimism to me not realizing that even positive people are not immune to negative energy. Or worse, tell me directly or indirectly that I am thinking too big. Planning to move to another country? “Did you just win the lottery?” Or trying to inject practicality into my aspiration towards the apparently impossible. 

So I am feeling disconnected from these people. It feels like…rejection. Although no one rejected me outright. And yet because of this disconnection the power of solitude becomes even more palpable. More glorious. More sufficient than ever. There is so much comfort in being lonely…feeling unheard and not understood, and then knowing that it is in such solitude and aloneness that I appreciate all the unequivocal loyalty that I know I have. Loyalty of God, of my parents, my family, my few lifelong friends. Of God. Who is surely speaking a whole lot to me in this season of seeking His face afresh and His word anew. 

So I am choosing to be silent. After I have expressed my displeasure. My tongue can be unbridled but I will know at the end of the day – if those friendships, relationships – are strong and true enough to withstand my honesty. 

I decided not to be “nice”. And it feels so good…because I am enough. And God is more than enough. 

This post is a response to today’s prompt:

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/solitude/”>Solitude</a> and life. 

Out Into the Fog

Taking a step of faith is like walking into the fog. Faith requires only enough visibility for that next step ahead. And then another step. And another. Yet another. Until the destination is reached.

Faith is not directionless. It has an end in mind…but is not deterred by the absence of specificity and guarantee. All it needs is a blessed assurance that everything will be alright in the end.

It does not seek comfort in the familiarity of all that is behind, nor does it try to grasp what the next gust of wind might bring. It does not have to, because it knows that true safety can only be found in eternity.

And so, faith is at ease even in places where it does not belong.

 This post is a response to today ‘s prompt: Fog

Ooh La La

So if I am given unlimited funds to plan one day of luxuries, what would I do? Without question, the first thing I would do is to book first class return air tickets for my trip to New York in November next year for the New York City Marathon (if it is possible to book air tickets so much in advance). Since I am going to travel half the world to have a lazy, relaxing holiday…not! I can’t imagine flying economy, arriving in a state of jet lag, and then run a crowded full marathon in the cold just two days later. A flight in the first class cabin would be a dream come true. And next, since hotel rooms are so expensive in the peak tourism season, I would also use the funds to book 14 nights in a luxury hotel in New York City so that I have ample time for sightseeing after the marathon is over.

I would also make some investments — maybe get a property that would hopefully be a diligent cash cow for me in the long term. And then buy a nice little island that I can maybe someday retire to, and get a nifty hybrid car that would save fuel and be kinder to the environment in the long run.

So my first purchases are made with the long-term future in mind. Now that I have taken care of the practical things, I can move on to splurge on whatever I fancy. I would buy gifts for my friends and loved ones, get some Louis Vuitton, Prada, Celine, Birkin and Chanel bags for myself, lots of chocolates, clothes, running gear, winter clothing, and ah maybe some insurance policies for my loved ones (there goes the practical side again), and some blue chip stocks.

Looks like my long-term thinking does come into play quite a lot. This is an interesting prompt that gets me thinking about money–and it’s good to remember that money can be a friend or foe depending on how we manage it. Mindless splurging might just lead to slavery to materialism and temporary satisfaction. On the other hand, money can be the key to lifelong freedom if invested wisely.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/feeling-fancy/

God Is In Control

I doubt many of us will be stranded on an island like Robinson Crusoe, at least literally. Figuratively, however, I am sure most of us have felt stranded at one point or another in our lives.

Isolated, lost, alone, with no one to call for help, or so it seemed. Worried, anxious, not knowing what to do, wondering how long our supply will last–be it finances or the emotional strength to tide us over. It might have even felt like there’s no way out — on an island and there’s no passing ship or plane or copter to bring us back to shore.

I do not have much to offer a friend or relative who is stranded, save for moral and emotional support, and these four words: God is in control.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/someone-elses-island/