Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mummy's entry - Dealing with Death

We had been busy over a month ago, work and personal. The girls' Ah Kong (paternal grandfather) was in the hospital in Penang for just over a month before his body gave way and we lost him on 23rd November 2010.

It was our first time (the girls and I) that we were in Penang 3 times within a month (and for hubby, many more times). The first 2 times were to visit him and shortly after our 2nd time, he passed away and we were back again for a week for his funeral.

It was a shocker to us all as we really thought he was recovering from his quadruple bypass operation he had 3 weeks before. Nonetheless, looking back now, he had lead a wonderful life of 70 years and we got to celebrate with him in July (when I have the time, I will post on the celebrations). We are glad that he got to see his 3 young grandchildren and that he got to travel a lot in the last 4 years (we knew of his heart problem then but he chose not to have the operation and to live his life to the fullest).

This is Rye Li's 3rd time dealing with death. The first was her maternal great grandfather (my grandpa) when she was 1 and a half years old. That was when she knew of heaven and all but the impact was minimal. After a year later, when she was nearly 3 years old, her maternal great grandmother (my grandma) passed away and this is where she has learnt the most about death and heaven. To her, heaven is where people go to when they die. Since then till now, she had asked many questions on death and to one point, she got scared and cried that she doesn't want to die. I'm guessing that she is afraid of losing us and when she does bring this up, I will reassure her that it's a very long time more that any of us will leave this world. She knows that the olders one will leave us first and at times, the sickly young ones will leave.

She knew that her Ah Kong was sick and is in the hospital and she did ask whether he was going to heaven and I told her not yet as we are trying to get his heart fixed. The night when we knew he had left us, I wasn't sure how to tell her the news. I was contemplating whether to tell her that night itself or the next day when we had to leave for Penang. But in the end, I did tell her that night and for the first 5 minutes, her reaction was to ask many questions :-

"How did kong-kong go to heaven?"

"Who took him to heaven?"

"He die already ah?"

After all the questionings and when it finally hit her, she went "I miss kong-kong" and cried. The very next morning, the moment she got up, she told me "Mummy, I dream (t) of kong-kong last night". And when I asked further, she said that he was at the hospital and he was sitting up, smiling at her while she was sitting on his lap (ever since he had his bypass, he had been lying down and his body was still at the hospital that night, they only removed his body to the funeral parlour the next morning). I don't know whether you believe of such things but I did "thank" FIL when we reached the funeral parlour to let her "see" him happily as Rye Li refused to see his body inside the coffin and we did not force her at all.

When she was at my grandma's funeral over 2 years ago, she kept asking to see my grandma in her coffin. I'm assuming it has got to do with age too (since her mei-mei and younger cousin always ask to see him throughout the wake).

Rye Li did not cry at the wake or on the actual funeral day but when we were not at the funeral parlour, she would go "I miss kong-kong" and would show a very sad face. At the wake, she participated mostly during the chants and we were proud of her. She did show fear when we asked her to pray with the joss sticks and only when we told her that she will not see her Ah Kong's body, she would do it. Hubby and I decided not to force her to see as we wanted her to remember her Ah Kong when he was alive.

On the day when we collected his bones after the cremation, we were surprise that she willingly took a piece of his bones (each family member had to take a piece from the container into a small clothed bag before they assisted to put all of them into the bag). FIL had always wanted his remains to be thrown into the sea and we gave him that wish.

Rest in peace Ah Kong!....we will always love you and thank you for care and love especially when you were staying with us.

The following are some pics of his final days with the girls as well as during his wake :-

the girls with Ah Kong at the hospital late October 2010, before his bypass. rye li not so lady-like!
the girls busy playing games while waiting at the hospital, their 2nd trip and also they could not hang out on Ah Kong's bed since it's after his bypass

rye li during the chantings at nights

Rye Li got to mix around with her second cousins (who came from KL and Ipoh)

Rye Li and her mei-mei

The below were taken after the funeral at the crematorium :-

Ah Kong's only 3 young grandchildren

Rye Li and her second cousins from Ah Kong's side


Cynthia said...

Condolences. I think Rye Li's handling of the situation was very mature - she was very brave and the dream that she had that night was truly beautiful. It was definitely a wonderful way to remember her Ah-Kong.

Bryan and Brandon's Mama said...

Sorry about your FIL passing again. Rye Li is really a good girl lah.

LittleLamb said...

Rye Li is a brave girl and I m glad she dreamt about ah kong and she related to you..."able to sit up n smile"

RIP ah kong.

Kai-Jin said...

Well done little princess! We are all very proud of you!

mom2ashleyaidan said...

so sorry to hear about Ah Kong!
RIp Ah Kong!

Mummy to QiQi said...

my condolence to your family. The girls are lucky to be able to see their Ah Kong while they are little.

A Mom's Diary said...

Condolences to you and family. When my dad passed away, Yiu Yiu was just under 11 months so I don't think she remembers him much. But because we go to Nilai Memorial Park quite often to pay our respects, she started asking me questions like "How gong-gong died" etc. And sometimes when we haven't visited Nilai in a while, she'll say that she misses gong-gong and asks us to go Nilai.