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Category: Deep Thoughts

Seriousness I experience once in a while.

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs

小小宝贝 brought home a book from school for his weekend reading. Children’s book, how exciting could it get? He picked this book – “Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs” from the little library in his classroom.

It’s a very simple children’s book about the author’s childhood which he spent with his Nana Upstairs – his great-grandmother and Nana Downstairs – his grandmother. It was beautifully drawn with short, easily comprehensible sentences that described the activities he had indulged in with his grandmothers, down to poignant little details, that seemed a great deal to a child like the sharing of mint candies, sitting tied to chairs so that they didn’t fall off. All these would have been very mundane activities to adults.

Then one day, his Nana Upstairs died and she was no longer sitting in her usual position in her bed. The drawing of the bed took up a whole page, the void was amplified.

Tommy began to cry.

“Won’t she ever come back?” he asked.

“No, dear,” Mother said softly. “Except in your memory. She will come back in your memory whenever you think about her.”

From then on, he called Nana Downstairs just plain Nana.

And then Tommy grew up, Nana Downstairs also grew old and moved upstairs and then she, too, joined Nana Upstairs with the stars.

With its simple sentences and beautiful drawings, it tugs at the heartstrings of both adults (me) and children, while reminding us that passage of time spares no one, even our parents who have grown old without us realising it. Cherish the time with them if you are lucky enough to still have them with you.

What Kind of Life Do I Want?

What Kind of Life Do I Want?

I consider myself a very, very lucky person. I had wonderful, nurturing parents, who loved me a lot and had been very supportive of everything I have done (for better or for worse). Friends have been very helpful and have stuck with me through thick and seldom thin (like what I said, my life has been very smooth sailing). Of course, there are a handful (not many, thank goodness), whom I wish that I have never met. Then again, they had taught me valuable lessons in life.

But nothing had prepared me for what I went through recently. This is the worst year of my life and the last few months the most agonising, for nothing can ever prepare one for death, especially deaths of loved ones, closest to heart. It’s unbelievable that there were numerous other small things that happened almost on a daily basis in between the 2 life altering events. These include car accidents (yes, 2 in fact!), a huge theft (this is an incredible tale that warrants a blog post by itself). There must have been a bad luck magnet stuck to my forehead at that time.

Losing 2 parents within 1.5 months was excruciating painful, for every little sound I hear, everything I see, carries the images and memories of them. There are a lot of “what ifs”, “could haves”,”if onlys” and regrets. But, no one knows if the outcomes would have been different if we had done things differently.

This chain of events sets me thinking, is this what I really want? What do I want? I have lost sight of what I really want in the midst of busyness. There was not enough time for myself, to take stock of what I want, no time to spend with my family, Heck! I don’t even have time to visit the dentist, or even get a haircut! I hardly have time to be with everyone I care for.

It’s time to slow down, take stock of my life, set my priorities right and yes, smell the roses, watch the clouds go by…. and play silly games with my kids and do things that I have always wanted to do, but haven’t have the chance to.

My Father

My Father

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.

When there’s a Rainbow in your Heart

When there’s a Rainbow in your Heart

I had drafted out a nasty piece to vent my unhappiness over a recent incident. But I deleted it. It’s a pity because I was quite impressed with my English.  Somehow my language level shoots up when I get mad. I’ve never realised that I’ve such a huge vocabulary of swear words and flowery descriptive phrases stored in my brain. 😂

Then I figured, why should I let it affect me? Leave a blemish in my blog that serves as a memory of an abhorrent person who’s just a passerby in my journey of life, just like the cockroach which scuttled across my kitchen floor. 

Every day, there are bits and pieces of events that don’t necessarily go according to my preferences. And if I keep holding the grudge that everyone else is luckier than I am, other people’s cups are always fuller, everyone out there is waiting for the opportunity to backstab me and everything that has gone wrong is always other people’s fault and not mine, then I’ll be a very sorry existence of a human being. 

I look at my life. I have a wonderful family and a bunch of supportive friends. That’s enough. As long as you have a rainbow 🌈 in your heart, you will see rainbows everywhere. Even on the balcony floor. 😂 And you’ll find the pot of gold that’s at the end of it. (Yes. I’m a huge fan of fairy tales!)


But if one’s eyes are smeared with excretion, then everything one sees will be coated with a layer of *hold nose*. This group of people don’t need help to bring agony into their lives, they just need to look into the mirror. 

So, my philosophy is to live well and love much! 😍

It’s a NO WORK Day!

It’s a NO WORK Day!

This morning, I decided that TODAY would be a NO WORK day. No office email, no thinking of work (ok ok, I made some work calls and messages, but really short ones!).

Morning – did my chores at home. Accompanied my grandmother to her rehabiliative care, had lunch with her, chit chatted with her and sat with her until she fell asleep.

Afternoon – listened to Mr. Talkative (aka 小小宝贝) tell me about his day at school, how he made his Vacuum cleaner gun (ya, another one of his numerous inventions. This one sucked up bad people.) with his best friend, ran him through his Shichida exercises and other brain training puzzles (which were languishing in neglect because I was too busy), practised his Yamaha music stuff with him. When 宝贝 came back from school, supervised her homework.

Evening – Rode through the park connectors with 小小宝贝 (shortened my life by a few years because of how he rode along the busy roads), while Miss 宝贝 preferred to play with her friends (Sigh! 女大不中留).

Night – Patted both of them while listening to them whisper sweet nothings to me, telling me how much they love me. Finally, I got to read my book. My new year’s resolution (every year!) was to reduce my pile of “Want to read, but no time to read” books.

It’s been a long time. And I kind of like it. Say… I really can get used to a life like that! Maybe it’s time to give it some serious consideration….🤔

Goings – Another One…

Goings – Another One…

12 April 2017

This post probably won’t be published until sometime in June…. The last time I wrote such a post  was back in 2013.

When a person has been in a sales organisation long enough (13 years), it is inevitable that I will see colleagues coming and going.

But what makes this person special is that she has been there, with me, all the way since I joined the company. We have been through thick and thin, (cliche as it sounds but it’s true!), weathered the restructuring, the departures of our closely bonded colleagues, been on happy holidays and yes, today she told me that she’s leaving.

I wasn’t shocked but I was kind of sad. I felt a little abandoned… Sometimes she’s a little naggy (haha, I know you are reading this!) but she means well for me. She has a kind heart, giving spirit and I know that I can always depend on her for support and not backstab me. That speaks for huge volumes in a sales organisation!

Perhaps, this time, the sea is rougher than it was in the last storm and it wouldn’t calm down for a long while. And I know that I wouldn’t be able to convince her to stay.  Because to leave a place, where a person had stayed for the last 14 years takes a lot of courage and determination.

Although, I’m still a little depressed (and abandoned!), I wish her all the best for the next exciting chapter of her life! Jia you!!!!

 

 

Being Present. Being with My Loved Ones. 

Being Present. Being with My Loved Ones. 

Whenever we speak of spending time with our families, we tend to think of our children (for those of us with kiddos), we neglect to think of our parents and our grand parents. 

In the past, whenever I attended a wake of a friend’s parent or grandparent, I’d tell myself that I needed to spend more time with mine. But, I got caught up with the tidal wave of mundane matters that I forgot about this promise. And to me, it’s because they would always be there. It’s UNTHINKABLE that one day, they would not be there anymore. 

Until.. one day, my 93 year old grandmother had a stroke. The sprightly, independent, sociable lady was reduced to a mere shell of her former self overnight. From a fiercely independent being, cooking and cleaning (yes! Still! At the age of 93!), doing her morning qi gong classes with the neighbours, to one who needs help for the daily bare necessities. Not only that, the stroke affected her memory, so she is living in the present and even in the past, her memory indicator swings wildly like a pendulum. There are gaps in her memory. And this makes her fearful, suspicious, paranoid of everything and everyone. 

It’s a difficult time for everyone, including herself. She’s frustrated, embarrassed and eventually suicidal. 

It’s also extremely heartbreaking for my father. She’s been both his mother and father since he lost his father at the young age of 3 (my uncle was only 18 months old). She was the capable and unfatiguable mother who had been the permanent pillar in his life. So he makes it his duty to be always by her side, taking in her tirades and scoldings. 

I regret. I regret taking her for granted, always believing that she’ll always be up and about. Facing the possibility of another stroke which will further incapitate her mentally and physically, I suddenly realize that time is short. There’s an hourglass, somewhere, with sand streaming through the tube and time is running out. 

Is work really more important than someone who has taken care of me all my life? Is it worth spending time dealing with bad tempered, unreasonable clients who don’t care 2 hoots about who I am? Heck. Some of them don’t even remember my name! 

It’s time to take stock of my life and priorities. I don’t want to live with regrets that I haven’t done enough. And I guess it also comes with age (damn! Getting old arh!) that I don’t exactly care too much about what others (refers to people whom I don’t see more than once a year) think about me anymore. 

Enough said. Off to see my loved ones! ❤️ You too!! 

Car Rides with the Little Ones! I Love THEM!

Car Rides with the Little Ones! I Love THEM!

“How do you know whom she has recess with every day? And that she plays badminton during recess?!” the Hub asked in surprise.

“Of course! I asked her when I drove her to school.  Don’t you talk to her when you drive her to school every day?! You have already driven her for half a year!!” The hub is 宝贝’s regular chauffeur, aka taxi driver. I took over as the relief driver when he had to go overseas for a business trip.

“No leh… Both of us are very tired in the morning. So we just listen to the music on the radio… ”

Well, I LOVE car rides to bits!

I have been chauffeuring my 宝贝s to classes, because my job has more flexibility with regards to working hours. (However, that means that I can practically work round the clock! I often go back to the office at 6pm in the evenings, after dropping the kids home after classes.)

I have always believed in interacting with them even when they were babies. (Ok. I admit that I’m Miss Talkative!) Even before they started talking, I would carry on monologues with them in the car, while I drove. They would be able to reply in their own baby talk, even though they were not able to form words yet. Or we would sing nursery rhymes together (they chimed along in their baby language) as we sped down the expressways.

When they get older, they would tell me what happened in schools and what they have been doing at home.  Even my 小小宝贝 would actively participate with his limited vocabulary. It’s hilarious to hear his descriptions and he often surprises me with new words, which he’s probably picked up from here and there.

This is the best time for parent-child bonding, when we are enclosed within the space, when we are in “a world of our own”. In the car, she tells me who her BFFAE (for the uninitiated ones, it means Best Friend Forever And Ever) is, who her BFF (Best Friend Forever, yes… there IS a differentiation.) is, who the naughty kids in school are, what her aspirations are, how many times her little brother hit her, how proud she is of her small little achievements. It is also during these car rides, when she learns to ask me about others, how great-grandmother is, when she will be discharged from the hospital, what I did for assembly when I was in primary school and more.

So, if you think ferrying your children around is a waste of your time, think again. Time is never wasted if you know how to utilise it. We were on this topic during this morning’s car ride (yes… the Hub is on business trip again…).

She queued twice to get 2 plates of chicken rice because she was hungry after devouring one plate (I have no idea where all these extra food went on her skinny frame) and she didn’t have time to go to the library or play badminton because of that. So today, she’s just going to queue once and buy a bigger portion.

So, I tell her, during the car rides, that my aspiration is to be her BFFAEAE! (must be one up from the BFFAE!)


 

Uprooting Myself After Many Good Years…

Uprooting Myself After Many Good Years…

I have always been toying with the idea of getting my own domain name.  Because, technically speaking, if one day, WordPress decides to terminate my account with them, all my writings, pictures, videos which I have posted since 2002 (Yes… I have been blogging for 14 years! Albeit on and off though… I was one of the pioneer bloggers who have gone nowhere. LOL!) will be gone!

Excuses, procrastination, everything that you can think of.  Finally, I have done it! I have got myself a domain, a webhost and migrated the whole website over.  Believe me, the migration was as bad as moving a house where you have lived in for last 12 years.  It was PAINFUL. Maybe because I was very cheapo, I did everything myself and refused to pay a fee to migrate the information.  It took me one whole day! It’s also because I am terribly noob at the technology. So instead of paying movers, I figuratively moved my “furniture”,  “boxes”, “belongings” all by myself  (and I’m only 5 feet tall… ).

So my new “house” is ready (well, kind of…) with the bare walls. I’ll maneuver myself through the tech part to beautify it later. So, yes, the new site works but just not too awesome looking (with my noob skills it’ll at most be so-so lah!) unless I pay a pro to jazz it up. Then again, that wouldn’t be me anymore. Let’s look beyond the physical beauty and go for the content. 😜

Come visit me at my new place www.myonecentthoughts.com!

Please Let Her Remember Me.

Please Let Her Remember Me.

I haven’t been sad, really, really sad for a long, long time. Angry, yes, many times. But today is truly a sad day.

My grandmother has been hospitalised due to a stroke. The doctor classified it as a mild stroke, because she has a slightly slurred speech and her hands aren’t as nimble as they used to be.

That’s what I thought too. Until I visited her with 小小宝贝 this evening.

She asked me, “why did you rent your house out?” I simply didn’t get it. Huh?

“What are you talking about?”

It went back and forth until it suddenly occurred to me that, she’s referring to her ward. And the nurse was the maid and the guy in the next bed was the “tenant”!

“This is Changi hospital!”

“What Changi hospital? It’s your house! There’s no such hospital called Changi hospital!” (She stayed there for 1 week just a month back.)

Then she proceeded to call my son my cousin’s name. My heart sank.

“Do you know who I am?”

She looked at me in bewilderment. A part of me died. I am her favourite grandchild and she doesn’t remember me. We slept in the same bed for the first 10 years of my life. And we shared the same room until I got married. I was her everything, until my brother came along. Then both of us were her everything, with me having a bigger share.

After a long while, she finally managed to say my name. She remembered 小小宝贝.

Suddenly she asked me where my brother was.  I told her, “Germany. For work.” Her reply was, “What are you talking about? He’s in primary six!”

Her memories have been jumbled up. She mixes up the past and the present.

She played with 小小宝贝 for a while. It made her happy.

I sat there, looking at her while she was playing with him. My grandmother, who is my pillar of strength, with the most lucid mind, can’t really remember me. I know, because she asked me for.. me. I’d never thought that this can ever happen to me. This only happens in movies, dramas, but not, to me.

Today, I have lost something precious.  I hope she remembers me when I see her tomorrow.

We hugged and kissed her and told her that we loved her. She sat in her chair, smiling and waving at us as we left the ward.

Last week we had lunch with her at home and when we left, we also hugged her and kissed her and she waved good bye.

But today, she doesn’t remember me.

I realise today, that the most painful thing on Earth, is to be forgotten by the person who loved you the most.

Our recent family photo during 宝贝’s birthday celebration