Wednesday 6 September 2023

Experiencing another loss in my family

My grandmother passed on about 1/2 week ago and it really is in the midst of our busy life where we pause and gather to mourn the passing of an important person in our lives.

Seeing my grandmother’s life, she has worked hard all her life, providing care and support to our family and to those around her. Life was tough during her time and I would remember fondly when I stayed over at her place and she would cook and take care of me.

One most memorable memory with my grandparents was when in the wee hours of the morning (I used to stay over at their place alone as my primary school was nearby and I was in the morning session), someone shouted FIRE and there was commotion within the estate. We woke up and found smoke rushing into the flat, we wasn’t sure what was happening but my grandma rushed us to get a cloth and wet it to place it over our nose. As a small room was being added to the flat unit at that time as part of an upgrading project, we climbed over the concrete barrier, closed the window tightly (supposedly the door but it was not yet completed) and hid in that small room. My grandfather shouted down for help and we just stayed in there.

My grandmother was very calm and to be honest, being a primary school kid, I was panicking and I told them that I wanted to pee hahaha, what great timing. I really thought I was gonna die as images of being dead at such a young age flashed through my mind. My grandmother found a plastic bag and told me that I could pee into it which I did.

After some time, the firefighters came and extinguished the fire and it originated from the 2nd floor unit below us so the smoke and fumes travelled upwards which explains why the house was filled with smoke making it impossible to escape at that time. I was relief but did have some scary thoughts whenever I stayed over.


There were many memories with my grandmother as I used to stay with them in the afternoon when I was young while my mum was at work. I remember reaching home from school and starting to play video games and when the time was nearer towards my mum coming back, my grandmother would pester me to bathe and not play games as my mum was gonna be back any minute.

It was nice to have someone there to tell me what to do and help prepare my meals. I took it for granted when I was young that my grandmother would always be there for us but as time passed and I started working, I spent lesser time with her and every time I visited her, her health deteriorated and at a certain point, we all knew that we would not be able to taste her delicious cooking or hear her nag again.

I guess this is what life is, you work hard and build relationships and as you age, only the closest relations remain as many of my grandmother’s friends passed away earlier than her including my grandfather. My grandmother also had a helper who was really good to her and helped her and us a lot during her later years.

Letting go

I used to be really scared of losing my grandmother since she took care of me and we relied a lot on her when my mum was working full-time. She cooked lunch and dinner every single day and made sure to take care of us whenever my mum was busy working.

She was always there and her home was like a childcare centre as my cousins and I took turns staying there or having our meals there. This went on for quite some time although we moved out of her place when I was in secondary school but we still had our meals daily there until I was in polytechnic. As I progressed onto university and her health deteriorated, the visiting lessened and LNY (Lunar New Year) was really the only huge event when everyone would be there. We spent lesser time with her as we got a helper to take care of her and we all became busier with life.

I remember there were a few times when she felt ill and we rushed over to her place, for the first few times, I cried when I went over as the thought of losing her was painful. This went on for a few years and even more frequent this past year as she went into the hospital a few times and each time, the doctor would tell us that she would not last long but she was strong and like what my brother said, “Ah ma was a fighter and survivor”. She would bounce back from her critical condition each time and we took it for granted until now when she could no longer fight.

We took her passing relatively in our stride because we had so many ‘warnings’ and also because we knew it was a relief for her especially the past year where she became bedridden and was not able to take any solid food towards the last few months of her life.

Thank you so much Ah ma for all the love and care you have given us, we definitely took you for granted but know that we will always miss you for all that you have done for us. We love you and see you.


  1. My deepest condolences on your loss. Please take care.


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