On the 49th day after my beloved grandmother’s death, I had to send away another parent, my father.
This probably doesn’t mean much to anyone, but I just have to pen it down, because my heart is bursting with grief.
As a son, he is the epitome of filial piety. My grandmother was widowed at a tender age of 20, when he was barely 3 years old and my uncle, a wee babe of 18 months old. From a very young age, he was mature beyond his years and took care of his family. He had excellent grades, but chose to give up the opportunity to enroll in the university to take up a job and ease the financial burden of my grandmother and to send his younger brother to university instead. He worked in the day and put himself into night school through an accountancy certificate.
He treated my grandmother with utmost respect and love and spent the last 3 years of his life taking care of her when she was bedridden and in her most aggressive dementia period before she eventually mellowed down. He carried her, changed her, took care of her every needs with utmost patience. He was a man of few words, yet he would coax her to eat in his gentlest tone.
As a husband, he took care of my mother’s every need, and in every little way he could. Until now, my mom just needed to sign on every filled form (luckily my brother took over my father’s OCD details on form filling). He was the head of the house and insisted on paying for every single cent out of his own pocket. His work was unenviable. He had to work long hours and even over the weekends. He bought a car for my mother to drive to work and he would walk and take the crowded public transport to work. I remembered that the car was pink. He must have loved my mom a lot. Even I won’t be caught dead with a pink car, not to mention a macho man like my father.
As a father, he stinged on himself and saved every single cent, so that he could spend it all on us. He gave us the best he could, the things he had wanted but never had when he was a child. I remember him as a stern father, who whipped me when I was insolent and that was very often. Yet, he was the proudest father when I received my degree from NUS because it was what he desired and yet couldn’t achieve due to lack of funds. He taught me about savings from a very young age and the worth of money. Yet, he also showed me that when friends or relatives came to him in need, he generously gave them the money that he had painstakingly saved up, cent by cent, over the years.
He had ferried me to school for years and years, yet we never spoke in the car. He was a man of few words and I took him for granted. Why didn’t I chat with him over all these years? He was the happiest grandfather when my children were born. He gave my children, the time that he didn’t had for us when we were children. He was the doting grandfather and my son was especially close to him. He read bedtime stories to them every night, something that he never had the chance to do for us. He hugged and kissed them, while I sometimes looked on enviably because he was an unapproachable figure to me.
In the face of death, he was the calmest of us all. He said, “我想死。” My heart broke into a million pieces. He didn’t fuss, he didn’t go into a rage, it was just calmness. Yesterday, I confessed to him, “爸爸，对不起。我一直跟你吵架，一直让你生气。“ He just held my hand and gave me a few gentle squeezes. I hugged him and cried. He took me in his arms as though I was still a little girl and gave me a bear hug, as much as he could in his weakened state, patted me and told me, “不要哭。不要哭。” I sat up and asked him, “我弄痛你了。”“不会，不会。”Then folded me in his arms and continued patting me as though I was a baby, while I was bawling in his arms. He patted my hair lovingly while I cried my eyes out.
Yesterday night, I held his hand when he’s slipped into unconsciousness, praying that the IVIG, pembro and whatever stuff was injected into him worked, something, just a miracle. I watched him as his breaths got shallower, his heartbeat got slower, and his body got colder until finally the beep was a long line. He went peacefully, severed of his mundane ties and pain. I told him when he was still conscious, “你见到奶奶，记得告诉她我很想念她。你们又可以在一起了。” I just wish that I had more time with him.
2 days ago, I heard this from the audio book of the deathly Hallows.
“You’ll stay with me?
“Until the very end,” said James.
“They won’t be able to see you?” asked Harry.
“We are part of you,” said Sirius. “Invisible to anyone else.”
My father is part of me, invisible to anyone else. I have him with me and in me always. Til we meet again, my father.