Sep 16, 2010

In memory of...

A famous love quote that goes like this:

Better to have loved and lost than never to have love at all.

It took me a while to get what it meant because when I was younger, I have always been loved and still loved until one day that person I loved left me suddenly. Too late for goodbyes, no chance to say how much I adored her and loved her. This person is my late granny, my mother's mom.

I am not allowed to talk about her death in public like a blog. All I can say is that she died suddenly, and horribly. Why did I write this post today? Because next week its Mid Autumn Festival.. we celebrate this every year with her. Because its her birthday too. After her death in 1984, we stopped celebrating Mid Autumn Festival. We stop eating moon cakes altogether, always in memory of Ah Ma.

When she died, my world of perfection fell too. My Ah Ma was EVERYTHING TO ME. Although she couldn't speak English nor Mandarin. She spoke to me in Hokkien. And I learn to speak Hokkien from her. She told me all the time :

"Ting Ting, I will always love you. You are a very good girl. Very filial. And continue to be like that."

It took me years to get over her death. In the early years it was really difficult. It was even more difficult when I had Sidney who didn't understand what I was going through. All of us(my mom, relatives and all who are related to her by blood) grieved differently.

I know I have prayed at least a 1000 times asking God to heal me and to let me go on in life. Many friends rallied around us, giving us all kinds of support. But no one could understand our grief, our pain. A year later, my grandfather left us to meet his wife in Heaven. :(

My mom cried every day, and every wakeful moment she had. It was painful to watch this every day. I had to work and I come home to cold food or sometimes no food. My mom had no energy left to do anything.

Till today, sometimes certain events or things remind her of her parent's passing, she would bring it up again and talk and cry.

Some 25 years or so have passed...and we are still grieving..why? That's a clear sign how much you can love someone and still cannot let go.

When I sometimes "blog-hop" I get to read about a death of a loved one, I was compelled to write a long email or a comment to comfort that blogger. But I guess its best I write this in my own blog for ALL to read and understand what a person goes through when someone they loved just left them.

I still don't know what to say to someone who lost a loved one. But this much I can say :

Take time to cry. And Cry as much as you want to. Don't be worried how everyone sees you. Because no one can understand how much this person means to you.

And if it takes forever, then forever it will be. Because you do not stopped loving that someone. In fact, you loved them more. Because the days will pass by, empty. And its only natural for you to think of that someone. The things you use to do, or the things you plan to do.

Of all the goodbyes, good mornings, good nights you missed telling that someone and all the "how much I love you" that was missed, some are said and heard. And felt when that someone was still around.

Let no one decides how you should heal. We all heal differently. Some of us are better at it. While others are still coping.

As a friend, its often said "A friend in need is a friend indeed". To be a friend for your friend who has lost someone closed to them, is to lend your shoulders for tears, a hug with no words spoken, a tear shared together.

To me, that is what I called a Friend Indeed!

But at the end of this, I learn to thank God for putting me thru it all. I was able to understand and feel for others who went thru Hell on Earth when someone they loved left them.

It is through my pain of loosing Ah Ma taught me to be there for Sister Seok Buay when her beloved son, Boon left her. And my way of helping her to cope was to start Kitchen Capers. So she can use it to learn about email, Internet and write recipes to help her to cope. There is something to look forward to.

But alas, Sister Buay is still grieving..she is still coping. Boon has left her some 9 years ago.

Seen here : Bespectacled boy is the late Master Tan Boon Teik, next to him is Sister Seok Buay, his mom.

Boon was Sister Seok Buay and Brother Kim San's only child. I remember spending much time grieving with Sis Buay. I just stood there and cry with her. It was the best thing I could do at that time. And all she did was to repeat herself over and over again, telling me how she watch him breathe his last and passed on.

Years before I was working at Jardine Fleming, I met my boss Su Chzeng who also lost her better half some years back. When she came to work in Singapore, I could see her grief, through her 'heart'. And in small subtle ways, I would drop notes on her desk and send her inspirational poems or stories to help her to cope.

Her husband, the late Alan Booth, passed away in January 1993...2 years later, she came to Singapore to set up 'shop' with me at Jardine Fleming. I was the only person she employed to work with her at that time. By the time I left Jardine in 1998, our department grew to 10 persons.

Su Chzeng is still finding time to let go. And many people who never had loved ones leaving them could never understand why you need so long a time to get over it. Sometimes just out of the blue, Su would ring me and talk about past. And she knew that as always she could tell me anything and started tearing if she had to. And I wouldn't probe or poke fun at her. In fact, I may end up crying alongside with her.

I told Su that I haven't stopped crying for Ah Ma sometimes. Things I see, or do reminds me so much of lost time I could have done with my Ah Ma too.

I kept Ah Ma's memory alive by telling my younger cousins about her. What she was like and what she would want us to be. Its been 2 decades now..and I still cry for her once in a while.

To all my friends who reads my blog, I hope this post helps you to come into terms about grieving. If you have lost someone closed to you, you are not termed a weakling just because its been years and you are still crying.

In memory of..all who have lost but have loved..That's not lost. That's LOVE eternally.


Philia said...

GINA....I am really thankful to gold that i read this entry of yours. I have been grieving and crying almost everyday when my grandpa passed away 3 months whole world collapsed and I simply cant breathe and have no strength to move on. I am so glad that I chanced upon your blog and read this entry, it is a good way for me to release my sadness and also to reflect on the past, things that I have done with my grandpa...Thank You gina...
Hugs, Philia

Gina Choong said...

Hi Philia, I grieve over many things. I still think of my granny once in a while. And sometimes when I cook double boil soup at home, I also think and remember my late father in law. Because he loves my soups. And whenever I do certain things that reminds me of some loved ones who have left me...I still cry. You NEVER stop loving. Because I believe that once you stop crying, your heart becomes cold and you have some what forgotten about them. Take care...!