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Month: July 2019

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.