Monday, September 03, 2007

My Sister's Memories of Grandma

"If there is one word to describe my Ah Por, it would be “LOVE”.

"One image forever etched in my memory, would be her round face and double chin topped with her cheerful smile.

"My Por Por was such a loving, warm and generous Grandmother to me. Although she loved all her grandchildren equally, I always felt I was more special. Not because Por Por was ever partial, but I always felt like her only princess. With Por Por, I was always good and clever. She gave me so much confidence in myself and somehow made me feel I was capable of anything.

"Last night, I was trying to answer many of Dylan’s (my 8 year old son’s) questions about his Great Grandmother. I reminded him of a photograph in our family room with him at 2 years, sitting on his Great Grandmother’s lap watching TV together. I told him how lucky he was to be the only Great Grandson to have had that privilege for shortly after that, Por Por became too weak to sit up on her own. Dylan simply said, 'That’s because I was born earlier'.

"That very much echoed my own thoughts about how exceedingly blessed – you could even say unfairly blessed - I was to be my Phor Phor’s eldest Grandchild, just by being born earlier than the rest of my cousins.

"I spent much time in my early childhood with Por Por at the canteen she used to run in the Civil Service Club at Tessensohn Road. It was there I learned to take orders, collect money at the cashier, make and serve coffee and tea and toast. Ever so often I would go home with money in hand, generous handouts from my Por Por’s hard earned money. It wasn’t a good habit but Por Por was always so generous she spoilt me rotten.

"Some nights, I would sleep over in Por Por’s room and be awaken by the crows of chicken at dawn. One unforgettable morning, I woke up early and wandered to the games room all by myself and found myself starring eyeball-to-eyeball with Bobby the watchdog! I screamed and raced like a bullet train, shouting 'Por Por! Por Por!', with Bobby barking and hot on my heels. And of course, Por Por appeared just at the right time with a stern 'Sh!! Bobby!' and the stupid dog halted and shut up in an instant.

"My favourite memory of Por Por will always be of me sitting with Por Por and playing with her double chin. It was sure to bring a chuckle to Por Por and I loved the feel and bounce of her chin! Visits to Por Por’s house were always filled with hugs and kisses.

"Por Por was a fiercely determined woman who always worked and kept herself busy. In her last years, she was sadly bed-ridden after a fall but you would never hear her complain or give anyone a hard time. Because she first loved, and loved so much, she was deeply cherished and adored by her children and grandchildren. Because she first gave, and gave so much, she also received much and was highly respected.

"Though Por Por went through heartbreaking and painful moments in her life, she was always the bulwark for the family and never one to grumble. I learned so much from her character as I grew up watching and listening to her manage the family affairs (some of the issues were beyond my full understanding those days). She was always just, always compassionate, always considerate, always generous and sacrificial.

"I am so proud to have Por Por as my Grandmother, so blessed to be her Granddaughter. I spent time whenever I could visiting and praying for her when she became less mobile. Even in my limited and broken Hainanese I could say 'Por Por can I pray for you?' and Por Por would nod her head. And today I am at peace, knowing that she is safe and comfortable in Jesus’ hands.

"I love you forever, Por Por."

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