Grandma had been bedridden for many years now, following a fall she had after she'd stopped working at a hawker stall she used to run. In the last few weeks, I heard she'd been down with a bad flu, but was told not to go visit in case I got sick too, so I didn't. :( Grandma had also been non-verbal for a long while now, after a stroke some couple of years ago too. Any my Hainanese is just about non-existent, so most visits were spent just holding her hands and telling her all kinds of nonsense in my broken-Hainanese with all other possible languages and dialects I knew thrown in, much like I used to when I was little.
I never actually spoke much to Grandma, cos of my poor Hainanese, but my Grandma was quite the linguist. She always understood me anyway, whatever language I spoke. I guess running a hawker stall meant she had to understand a wide variety of tongues. Grandma could speak Mandarin and Malay, and understood English well enough. And she loved us lots.
As a little kid, I remember going down to the canteen she ran at the Civil Service Sports' Club every other day with my parents. She kept a huge black dog (which my sister was terrified of) at the sleeping quarters there where she spent most of her nights, and every time we went, she would make us thick slices of kaya and butter toast - the authentic type on a charcoal grille, better than any you'd get from killiney or Ya Kun. One of my fondest memory was going out on a trishaw ride with Grandma and my cousin on one of those visits to "The Club", as we used to refer to it, to do some marketing. My cousin and I returned with Herbie - The Love Bug - toys. Of course, my parents would always scold us for making Grandma spend money on us, but I'd always smirk in glee when Grandma scolded them in return. Grandma had all the right in the world to spoil us.
My paternal grandmother just passed on. My uncle, her primary caregiver, had called only a while earlier to tell us Grandma was very sick and we should all go over as soon as we could. Barely 10 minutes later, my mum called again to tell us Grandma had gone home. I'm just glad that she had, a few months before, accepted Christ. Nevertheless, I feel miserable that I never got to see her before she went. I'd been feeling so ill and tired the last few months, going down to visit her always seemed so difficult. How awful of me. :( And grandma never got to see baby Lauren too. :( This has just been a miserable few weeks.