Memory.. Little threads that hold life's patches of meaning together. ~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Nai Nai, I Miss You

A very belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone! Thank you for your kind greetings and may you have a lovely new year!!

It had been a sad Christmas and a mellow New Year for me. I won't be celebrating Chinese New Year this year as well.. Nai Nai (Dad's mum) passed away on Christmas Eve at the age of 87. It was a great shock to us, we thought she would live much more longer.

I was still sleeping when Nyi Pak (second uncle in Hakka) rang us at 6 am. I answered the call, was ready to sound whoever the person was over the other line. But as soon as I realized it was him, I got worried. Why would he want to call us at 6 o'clock in the morning?? What happened?? Nyi Pak asked if Dad was already awake. I didn't know if he was, I found out later he had already gone to the temple. Then he said, "Don't panic, ok? Po po passed away". I immediately got up and threw him all the questions - Why? What? When? How?. I couldn't sleep afterwards. I woke Mum & Sis, and waited until Dad got back from the temple.

We packed and immediately left for Dad's hometown before 8am. We reached almost 3 hours later. Went into the room to see Nai Nai. She was already cleaned and dressed. Dad put on the last button. She was laid into the coffin. She was sleeping so peacefully, so serene.. We offered prayers and got on to do whatever was necessary for the funeral. We folded paper money throughout the weekend. The funeral started on the next Monday and she was buried on Wednesday.

Man Ku (Dad's youngest sister) told us that about 2 weeks ago, Nai Nai told her that she wanted to die the way her own father did. Nai Nai had always feared death, especially when Yeh Yeh passed away 2 years ago, he really suffered a lot. Nai Nai told that her father asked to go to the bathroom to urinate. After doing so, while still sitting, he took his last breath. He went peacefully. Nai Nai wanted to die in peace. She didn't want any of her children arguing with each other the way most of them did when Yeh Yeh died.

Man Ku had also told us that recently, she was cutting Nai Nai's fingernails. Somehow, she accidentally cut the flesh and it bled non stop. For Man Ku, it was a bad omen. It meant that Nai Nai was going to die. She tried to shake the thought off her mind. She also said that Nai Nai had been frequently asking the maid for the time, like every half an hour. The maid told us that 2 days before, Nai Nai told her "Ada dua hari lagi". The maid thought Nai Nai meant 2 more days till Christmas, so she didn't ask any questions. Now we knew what she meant - 2 more days till her final day..

She died the way she wanted. At 5.45 am on Christmas Eve. The maid was the only one who, unknowingly, saw her took her last breath. No yelling against each other amongst the children. No more fighting for her remaining money. Dad did not need to be the middle person between the fighting siblings anymore. The house was much quieter than usual. On the 7th day prayers, Dad felt Nai Nai's spirit while he was sleeping. She touched him on the chest twice...

I miss her.. I had initially planned for her to witness my wedding, to sit her on the main table with us. Now that she's gone, I hope Yeh Yeh and Nai Nai's spirits would still be there with us. All Dad's siblings have scattered around away from their hometown. There's no more reason for us to go back, to visit my grandparents.. I miss them..

Nai Nai
Rest in peace, Nai Nai.. I love you..


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