In 2012, when I was in Colorado Springs for those 2.5 years, the greatest thing that weighed on my heart is the thought of not being able to see my grandmother again, not being able to be around if she were to be ill. Those years, by God’s grace, she was kept healthy. However, each time I Skyped with her, I will end the session in tears.
Over the last 2.5 years when we moved to Chiang Mai, I was much more relieved that if anything should happen, I would be able to get back home the soonest. Although with that in mind, I never really thought that day will come. When I left Singapore for Chiang Mai in May 2017, I was expecting to see my grandma next Chinese New Year in 2018. She was healthy as usual though she had mentioned a couple of times that she might not be able to see us again. I, of course, dismissed it as ‘rubbish talking’. Why would she not see us again ?
嬷嬷 passed away peacefully on 13 August 2017 after 2 difficult and painful months.
Those 2 months I consider the most difficult months for her. For as long as I’ve known her, she has been independent and active. She was still walking around (although should be assisted by a walking stick but she hates it).
She lived with my family and took care of my brother and I since we were born. I had always shared the room with her until I got married. (So I never had my own room)
I would say because of her, now that I have a family of my own, I strongly value eating together as a family and having home-cooked meals. She was the mistress of the kitchen. One of my regrets was not learning all the cooking skills and recipes from her. Partly because she wouldn’t let anyone in the kitchen or I felt intimidated by her presence in the kitchen. By the time I wanted to learn, it was a little too late. All those food that I wished I learnt : 芋头糕 (yam cake), Bak Chang, her special chilli sauce (she had taught me but her measurements were agak agak, I had tried it a couple of times, it tasted fine to me but not sure if I would dare to let the rest of the family try). She also said a couple of times that after my kids are older and when I have more time on my hand, then she would teach and impart to me some more recipes.
Although I did not inherit any of her recipes, but I think I inherited her value of cooking and giving your all to take care of the family.
She was one capable, strong woman. One that I fondly remember, our 嬷嬷 and 太婆.