Category Archives: SPECIAL PEOPLE

pot of gold

it’s so much less likely for me to make time to write down the happy things nowadays. that’s because the reality of full time parenting means little to zero time to myself. even when i’m struggling and my thoughts won’t let go of me, i have to make do with an hour in the morning before bambina wakes up. happier times are obviously just spent as a family, in the present. which is why my writing has been erratic and unrefined. it has mutated from something i put a lot of thought into and proofread and correct into just an expression of the thoughts that run through my mind on the spot. but sometimes that’s good. because getting to feel and see my thoughts as the whole truth and nothing but the truth reflects back to me where my mind really is/goes. the pain/fear, the absurdities, my loops. there is no more pretending. and that’s the thing i find with parenting.

there is no longer any space left to pretend. it’s so very real. and the stress of not having any break to put things aside to deal with later can really get to a person. and get in the way of partnership. because the reality is when one has an ounce of personal space, the other is holding the fort down. and vice versa. doing something nice has gone from spending time together to tagging in so the other can tag out. which is an incredible adjustment from being single together. where there was once time for self and then the relationship. of course ideally, the child would be sent off to be taken care of for the day or weekend or to daycare/school for selfish reasons. and i don’t mean selfish in a bad way. everyone needs to selfishly look out for themselves sometimes. but ideal is not always reality. and reality isn’t always ideal.

the beauty is though, that as we journey on and begin to acknowledge the stresses, hardships and sacrifices we individually make/tolerate for each other and the family at large, it begins to feel very much more like teamwork. and in the most clearest of spaces, it feels as though we are one. and the oneness can’t be taken away, even when we are functioning separately. it sounds so obvious, like obviously both partners give their all because of love or the commitment that matter enough to make all these sacrifices. but it is incredibly easy to take things for granted, and not be grateful for all things large and small that we do for each other.

…and here comes bambina…

the truth is, selfishly, i have my expectations of what love should be. and what a relationship should feel like. but life gives you what you need to experience to grow into a better self. not what you want to feed your ego self. every step is an opportunity to go beyond expectation and preconceived notions of what love is into a space of true understanding of love.

and the truth is, as a couple, we are breaking through to that space. sometimes we get stuck and it feels as though i’m banging into a wall, which is what brings me here to sort out my thoughts. but then sometimes we find a way to take that wall down and it feels like a different, much better space than before.

recently, it feels as though we have truly broken through to a space of empowerment and love. the changes on both sides that have set in are monumental. and we have been able to deal with situations in a much more accepting and positive way. it feels “normal”, or more accurately wholesome, which we all know is not actually the norm. so really, it takes a great incredible amount of healing and unlearning to be wholesome. and boy, did it. but with every step we take in the right direction, it shows me that this is all i need. and all i ever asked for. and i am grateful. so today, i’ve made the time to write out some of the happy as well. i’d love to express so much more, but bambina being awake means a chatty toddler in my face and no personal space to form coherent thoughts so off i go.

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making peace

the time has finally come – for you to face that big one. that major relationship that left an impact so devastating you thought it could never be sent to the folder where past experiences you’ve sorted through and moved on from reside.

you went to poke the beast. you always do. always in hope that the in between was enough time for the beast to transform into something else. something able to look you in the eyes and rise above together. because sometimes you are that beast. and all you need is time and bit of understanding to be ready to heal. some people say don’t bother. but that’s not who you are. you always try. it isn’t always the smartest thing, but you choose to anyways. until the chapter is over.

what transpired took you by surprise. because you thought you had an idea of how things might go either way. but once again, you overlooked all of reality to exist in your fantasy world where everyone wants to make peace. boy were you wrong. goddamn were you wrong.

it genuinely shocks you. you don’t know why. it really shouldn’t. but you really did not expect such a reaction. it sucks. you’d like for it not to, but it does. it’s sad that some things private and personal that you were or had divulged in a space you once considered safe could be used in such a way, twisted beyond recognition. violated. soiled. but you know the truth. and no one can take the truth away from you. 

it makes you think of the past and your journey. of all the years spent wandering about hurt, trying to find love. of all the loneliness. that dark cold loneliness you couldn’t run from no matter how much you tried. always right behind you. lurking in the silent corners of your mind.

you remember the family you once had. a lifetime ago (or so it seems), when you were safe and cherished and things were simple. you feel the inner panic of gradually losing that stable ground. the chaos that ensued as you tried to survive and the constant anxiety of having to – that only made you more needy and codependent.

it makes you think of all the people that crossed your path. those who were good for you. those that were bad. the handful you needed and hurt in the effort of finding your lost self. the stupid choices you made because you were so adamant on not giving a fuck that you chose not to even when you should have. even when you knew as sure as the sun is bright that you were walking into disaster.

you mentally hug your past self. you know how much she needs that compassion and strength with all the pain there was and all the pain to come. you feel melancholic, but more intensely at peace. because you know everything that’s happened has gotten you here. and even though you didn’t get here unscratched, you are so happy here. so very incredibly happy.

only you and you alone know how much effort it’s taken to free yourself from past trauma. to look yourself in the soul and come to terms with the choices you made and the things that happened for you.

and you know now – everything that happens, happens for you and not to you. never to you. and this just so happened to be the journey you needed to take towards self discovery, self worth and self love. because only through learning to love yourself could you then begin to love others the way you’ve always wanted to, with compassion and acceptance. to then create a family based on that truth, for the best odds at maintaining a loving space for your children to always count on.

to save them from what you went through.

you have always known the trigger point of everything falling apart. you set out to do different. it has always been that steady beacon of light. even when you lost your mind, you very much still had your sight. and you never gave in. you never let anything blacken your heart so much you couldn’t live with yourself. you just kept getting back up and moving forward, you warrior. you got here. you did it.

it took as much strength to power through the earlier pain as it did to be vulnerable and truthful in the healing process later on. you have by now forgiven yourself. and with this chapter coming to an end, you feel the remainder of sadness and pain of a time before start to fade as well.

so steady, as if it has been waiting to be set free. you hold on to it for just a little bit longer. a reminder of what made you YOU. a reminder that contained in that darkness was your greatest potential for light.

hello goodbye

this morning right before waking up, i had a really beautiful dream of ah ma. usually my ah ma dreams feel a little eerie and i watch her as i wonder on the inside – why something doesn’t feel right. then the feeling begins to become overwhelming and dark and eventually ends with me waking up to this shattering realisation that she is dead.

i dream a lot. i always have. and my dreams are incredibly intense. but until recently i could always just wake up startled, comfort myself knowing that it’s just a nightmare and try not to think about it as i fall back asleep. by the next day it would be nothing but a very foggy memory of something that i really would never be able to recall in detail.

dreaming of ah ma is a completely different experience. it usually starts out incredibly normal. nothing out of the ordinary. then i start to notice little details that don’t quite make sense. a part of the house that looks different. an object that we never owned. a conversation that doesn’t make sense. a person that should not be there with us. and as i wonder… and look around… and experience the dream i am having – not yet realising it’s a dream – ah ma starts to fade or mutate. sometimes i look at her and realise i don’t recognise who i’m looking at anymore. other times i look in her direction and all i can see is energy that i know symbolises her in the scene but she no longer has any form.

then it starts to sink in. always takes a while but i’ve never had a dream of ah ma that did not end with the same realisation. it feels like a cloud descending, a wave travelling through my body. and then i get it. something doesn’t feel right. this can’t be reality. that is not ah ma…because ah ma is dead.

i wake up. startled. sad. confused. numb.

i can’t shrug it off and comfort myself this time. what woke me up was reality hitting home. i wake up and ah ma is indeed no longer here with us. she is dead. and i don’t think i’ve been able to process what it means for her to be dead.

ah ma has been a part of my life since the day i was born. i spent more time living with her than i did with my parents. when i first left home at 18, she used to call me multiple times throughout the day to ask if i’ve had food. if i was alright. if i needed money. to be safe and careful. to make sure i was getting enough sleep and had a place to stay. to let me know that i could just go home at any point if i needed to. that she would always be there. that i was not alone. she was my safety net.

she very much is still alive in my mind and heart. ah ma is right here. i’ve spent so much time talking to her throughout life that her presence will forever be a part of my life.

there are moments where it hits me hard though- that ah ma has passed. and if i let it be, it is overwhelming because i feel so bad for not going back to visit her in the last month when she was put into a home and we knew she didn’t have long more. we were scheduled to move up north by the end of the month and then i’d go get her from the home and move her to a home closer to us. she didn’t make it to the end of the month. i didn’t go say goodbye.

ah ma has always been the absolute best person when it came to understanding that i had my own life to live and couldn’t always visit her. she never made me feel bad when it’d been a while since i visited. not once. i wonder if she understood i was going to go get her so she could finally be close enough for me to see her all the time. i wonder if she was sad that i didn’t go see her. i’m not a person of much regret. but this, i do regret. and i wish over and over and over again i could turn back time and hug her one last time.

so this is the honest reality of ah ma’s passing for me. i didn’t run to go see her when i had the chance to. i waited and it was too late. i didn’t say goodbye. i didn’t tell her one last time that i loved her. i will never be able to change that. ah ma lives on in my memory forever but there is no closure because i will never stop feeling bad for not seeing her one last time. i do not desire to stop feeling bad about it.

last night i spoke to yoong before sleeping, because the night before i had a really dark dream of ah ma. i told him that nothing could change. i do not know how else to process her passing more than i have. i know she is no longer physically here. i know she lives on forever in my heart. i am happy for her that she no longer has to suffer the pain of being ill. i am alright that she is no longer here. it’s the eventuality of all of our lives here. hers came to an end the way it was supposed to. not abrupt. not tragic. just an expected peaceful passing. i knew ah ma wouldn’t be here forever.

the emotions are so strong that it feels incredibly numbing. i accept that i feel numb. i accept that death is such a weird thing to process because it changes reality but technically doesn’t remove a person’s presence. nor does it take away the past. or the love.

processing death is a strange experience. i totally understand the eerie dreams i have of ah ma. i accept that as my forever. which is why this morning when i woke up foggily to a beautiful dream of her, i wanted to jump out of bed and write everything out to see what’s changed since last night.

in this dream, i was in our old home with ah ma, ah kong and epoh (grandma, grandpa and grandaunt). ah kong was filling water into a really cool water gun and i was showing ah ma and epoh how it worked and why it was better than a slingshot (which ah ma used to use all the time to shoot at crows). there was a cool bike in front of our house that ah kong rode in on. we were having good laughs and ah ma brought food out and told me to go eat. then the neighbour came back and asked ah kong why we had a broken bike out front. i looked over and saw an old broken down bike with no wheels under a tarp.

usually this is the point where my dream would start to get eerie.

but this time it felt incredibly natural. all of a sudden, we were all in the house. my brother was at the table with me and i was explaining to the neighbour that we were playing pretend. “you see, my grandma is no longer here with us so when she is, we try to make the best of it and enjoy the time we have with her. that’s why it doesn’t matter if it’s a broken bike outside. it can be anything we want it to be.” i absolutely knew ah ma was dead. i knew it was a dream.

i look at ah ma, trying to take in all of her. her short wavy white hair. the shade of her skin. her aging once chubby frame. those large spectacles. her checkered short sleeve shirt and sarong. her smile. her gummy, toothless, denture-less smile. her voice as she nags at me to eat. the love i feel as she fusses about everything. i stare for as long as i can, because i know she is gone. and my dreams (which i have very little control of) is the only place i will ever see her again. i look at her so long she becomes a still frame. and then just an image. i smile as i think of her. and then i wake up.

present. aware. at peace.

i miss you every day ah ma. i miss you with all my heart and soul. perhaps it will always be a mix of good dreams and bad ones when it comes to you because i love you that damned much. i will always wish you could be right here with me, so these dreams – good or bad – i look forward to them. because i look forward to seeing you.

you used to tell me when you had dreams of your mother and grandmother. i never understood. now i do.

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year of the sheep

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homemade cookies and cny deco in our dining area.

this is the first cny that i’m getting to celebrate in a real home of my own.
this is the first cny i’m celebrating without my grandma.

it doesn’t get any more bittersweet than this.
i wish you were still around to get to come over for cny ah ma. i wish i could cook you the food you used to cook for me. i wish so many things, but you’re just not here anymore.

don’t worry though. i’ll continue to celebrate it, even if there’s not much of the tradition that i know or understand. i’m sure to you, it’s the thought that counts. and you know that i continue to love you every day.

still looking forward to having the first reunion dinner in our home and starting our own tradition.

i love you. goodbye.

this evening, my grandmother passed away. she was sweet, loving (especially obviously towards me) and always full of life & attitude. anyone who knows her would know what a colourful character she’s always been. she stayed true to herself til the very end in the most imaginative of ways.

she was my rock. when family fell apart, she was my home to go back to as and when i needed. all throughout my confused, distraught teenage (and young adult) years when i couldn’t seem to do anything right. she has always looked out for me, spoiling me in any and every way she could, taking care of me when i needed help. right til the very end.

we knew her time was coming. the plan was to maybe move her to taiping to be closer to me after we moved tomorrow, so i didn’t actually get to say goodbye physically. our last phone conversation has to be a good enough goodbye (for me). i told her not to worry about me anymore as i’m married, happy and well taken care of. that she could rest her worries. and that i love her so much. i hope that was good enough for you, ah ma.

i don’t know how to process this. i am so glad that my grandmother’s pain has come to an end. i am happy for wherever her journey takes her soul after this. i feel absolutely shit that i can’t go back right now and be there for my brother who has to sort a huge portion of the arrangements out because at the same time, my husband is in the hospital for dengue/denggi and collapsed lungs.

great timing, life.

i’ve made time to edit a photo in her honour and post this because really, i’m at home alone while my other half, best friend and only person i need to talk to isn’t reachable til i see him in the morning. i got home from the hospital, was preparing what i need to for tomorrow morning when i got the call from my mum, then tried to help my brother where i could and now i’m seated in front of the computer.

i’m afraid that once i finish and i have nothing to focus on, the reality of my current reality will only then sink in. this is going to be a night i will always remember.

i love you so much ah ma. so so so so much. you will always be a part of my heart. i know you are happier wherever your soul is now. you have given so much, you finally get the rest you have been waiting for and deserve so greatly. transcend in peace.

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