The rest of the world will remember 6 December as the day Nelson Mandela passed away, but for me, it is the day that my beloved grandfather was finally free of the earthly bonds of pain and suffering that have held him for over a year.
Dear Yeye, thank you for 26 years of loving me, sending me to and fro school, being the cheeky grandpa who would sneak us junk food and forbidden soft drinks, protect us from getting caned, and for showing us resilience and strength as you fought your last fight and finished your journey.
One week on after your passing, I feel like I am in limbo. When I lost Amah, I felt so much heartbreak and shock that the pain was physical, and I felt it for years afterward, every time something small reminded me of her.
For you, Yeye, I refuse to let myself grieve, because I saw how much agony you were in. All my life you have fixed things that have gone wrong – toasters, cupboards, bicycles – with your trusty bag of tools and strong, weather beaten hands. I have never felt helplessness, guilt, and sorrow as intensely as when you suffered that debilitating stroke and it felt like we couldn’t fix you, when you needed us the most. I prayed that you would be released from your suffering.
Now that you are gone, I feel empty. I wish you could have met Sophie, but I also would never wish another three months of pain on you. I wish I could still hold your hand, but I think of how your fingers were turning blue and I know you would have wanted to go while they could still move. I feel like without you a whole big chunk of my childhood has gone, but I know I should be thankful you were around for 96 good years and I had the honor of serving you tea at my wedding.
We know you are in Heaven with Amah and all you have loved who have passed on and that one day, we will all be together again in eternal happiness – I think of you happy, healthy, whole, on your bicycle, smiling and watching over my family and I know you are at peace. I love you, Ah Gong.