The Last Grandparent

15 July 2008, 10.15pm… a life ebbed away into eternity.

I wonder if I would remember this day a few years down the road. I have a tinge of regret not being able to remember the date of my paternal grandmother’s death. 15 July 2008 is the date of my paternal grandfather’s death. They were my parents during my growing up years – they were more like my parents than my actual parents.

It was my grandpa who held my tiny hand and walked me down the slope to my kindergarten nearby.

It was my grandma who raced me to bed in the evenings and pulled me out of bed in the mornings.

It was my grandpa who brought me to the kampong provision shop and I got free sweets from the shop owner as a result of the visit.

It was my grandma who taught me how to wash, wring and hang large blankets.

It was my grandpa who taught me how to kill geese, trap rats, look out for bird’s nests, feed abandoned baby birds, etc.

It was my grandma who used humourous teochew sayings (her own concocted proverbs – words of wisdom) to discipline us.

It was my grandpa’s hard-handed whacking/caning that disciplined us.

It was my grandma who would be home to sit there and listen to my teenage boasting using broken teochew mixed with English in desparate attempts to help her understand her granddaughter.

It was grandpa who drove me to school every morning from Sec 3 to Sec 4.

It was grandma who gave me pocket money whenever I needed it.

It was my grandparents who would wait up till 2-3am till I came home from havoc-ing… and they would get a scolding from my dad for caring too much.

Ah Mah, Ah Gong, I love you…

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