Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

March 21, 2004

an evening with grandpa

I was asked by my mom to bring grandpa for dinner last Friday. Not a problem for me as I was quite free that night so, I happily obliged.

We (Emily and I) decided to buy him to something nice. But before that, I had to get past the first obstacle when dealing with my senile grandfather – to convince the old man that I am not some crook trying to abduct him. You see, he’s already 90. He has some serious hearing problems and he couldn’t remember how many kids he has, let alone grandkids. So, you can imagine how it was for me.

Grandpa : *smile*

Me : “HI GRANDPA. IT’S ME… MICHAEL” [I had to speak very very loud because of his hearing problem]

Grandpa : “WHAT?” [He is loud because he could hardly hear himself talking]

Me : “IT’S ME… MICHAEL. I WILL BE IN CHARGE OF YOUR DINNER TONIGHT. I BOUGHT YOU SOMETHING NICE.” *wink*

Grandpa : “OH… YOU BROUGHT ME DINNER. HOW NICE OF YOU, whoever you are.”

Me : “YEAH. MOM HAD A FALL AND HURT HERSELF PRETTY BAD ON THE CHIN. SHE COULDN’T COME TONIGHT SO SHE SENT ME” *smile*

Grandpa : “YOUR MOM… DO I KNOW YOUR MOM?”

Me : “MY MOM IS YOUR DAUGHTER, GRANDPA. HER NAME’S KAREN.”

Grandpa : “OH MY, IS SHE OK? WHERE IS SHE NOW?”

Me : “SHE’S FINE. JUST A SMALL BRUISE AND NOW RECUPERATING AT MY SISTER’S HOME”

Grandpa : “SHE’S AT HOME?”

Me : “NO, MY SISTER’S HOME”

Grandpa :”WHERE IS THAT PLACE?”

Me : “JUST A FEW STREETS AWAY, RIGHT OVER THERE, REMEMBER?”

Grandpa : “OH YEAH I REMEMBER. SO, YOUR MOM’S FINE?”

Me : “YES, SHE IS. SHE JUST WANTED TO STAY OVER FOR A FEW DAYS AND THEN SHE’LL BE BACK TO MY PLACE.”

Grandpa : “AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE?”

Me : “I LIVE IN [location], DO YOU REMEMBER?”

Grandpa : *puzzled look*

Me : “THE PLACE NEAR THE UNIVERSITY, REMEMBER?”

Grandpa : “OHH, THAT NEW APARTMENT. I REMEMBER NOW. SO, YOU MUST BE KAREN’S SON?”

Me : “THAT’S WHAT I TOLD YOU, GRANDPA. YES I AM.” *wink*

Grandpa : *smacks head* “AHAKS! FORGIVE ME, AS I AM A VERY OLD MAN NOW… MY MEMORY IS FAILING. I MAY EVEN HAVE A BRAIN DAMAGE, HAHAHHH”

Me : “YOU’RE JUST FINE, GRANDPA. AT LEAST YOU REMEMBER ME NOW, RIGHT?”

Grandpa : “HAHAH, AND WOW, YOU’VE GROWN UP TO SUCH A GOOD LOOKING MAN NOW. THAT’S WHY I CAN’T RECOGNIZE YOU…” [note: I did not make this up]

Me : “NAAAAW GRANDPA, I ALWAYS LOOKED GOOD, HAHAH”

Grandpa : “HAHAH RIGHT RIGHT. SO WHERE’S YOUR MOM?”

Me : *feet in the air*

The process would repeat for countless of cycles. And I had to answer him the same thing over and over again.

But then, ironically, my grandfather isn’t as forgetful as he always claimed to be. I think he’s just feigning it. You know why? It’s because after our dinner, he started to tell us stories about his heydays… about how he endured his hardship when he was at my age. Bla bla bla. And those events took place like, over 60 years ago… If you ask me, I would say that old dude has a better memory than I do.

Anyway, that Friday night’s experience was a pleasant one. And I am glad that my grandfather enjoyed the evening telling us stories.

michaelooi  | personal  | Comments Off
October 22, 2003

my father’s passing

Last week, before my father went unconscious, I had a few final words with him. I told him that he need not to worry about anything anymore, because we can definitely take care of ourselves and I told him to never wait for us. And he did that a week later.

During the wake, one of my father’s closest friend asked – why are there so few of his friends showing up? Did I contact them about my father’s passing or advertise any obituary in the local newspaper?

I replied him – my father wanted his funeral to be simple and does not want his friends to feel mourn for his passing. The friend nodded. I also told him, my father’s closest friends were all already there for him – when he was down and ill.

But he didn’t tell me how he wanted his funeral to be done. He only told me about a late friend of his – how he had admired him for having everything done so modestly. So, based on his remarks and desire for a modest wake, I arranged for him to have a simple and modest funeral. The way how a real Buddhist would.

But I am glad that he finally left his diseased body for good, and suffered no more. It was our fate to be father and son, and it had been a pleasure to meet him in this life. If there is indeed such thing as afterlife, I definitely would want to meet him again and shake this man’s hand, and then greet him – “Hi again… old friend” and then we’d sit down together to have a really long chat.

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October 7, 2003

fears in life

Yesterday, I spent some time by my dad’s death bed with the rest of my family. It was a sad event. It felt as if everyone was getting together to bid him a final farewell. Dad was very groggy from his advanced stage of illness, but still, he confessed a lot of his worries and his fears to all of us. This was the first time I’ve ever seen him doing that.

I can imagine his feelings right now – when he learns about his impending death. There would be so many bitter regrets and sweet memories to think about. And the sad part of it would definitely be – to learn that he won’t be able to achieve certain objectives in his life. Something like, to know how would his grandchild looks like… or how big our family will grow… how successful his son is, will he ever achieve greater things in life…

He’ll never get to know all that.

He kept staring into blank space, wandering off in deep trance of thoughts whenever I talked to him. It seems like he couldn’t hold enough energy to even put an iota of concentration to listen. I have seen this kind of symptoms before, that was when my grandma was terminally ill a few months back. This definitely was not a good sign.

And for the first time in my life, I spoon-fed my father his meal. I never thought I could be doing this after all these years of so many conflicts between us. For the record, he has never spoon-fed me before. And how I yearned for a fatherly love back then… and it’s definitely not fair for him to check out from this life so early. I have never really known how it felt like to have a complete family… and by looking at his condition like this, I know I never will. Not in this life of mine.

I’m not sure how this thing will all turn out to be in the end for him and me. I’m having insomnia and my migraine is back.

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July 29, 2003

nostalgic

Visited dad yesterday. We had a lengthy chat about our pasts & presents. It was an emotional moment for both of us – there was one point when dad told me, that both of us haven’t been really spending a lot of time chatting like this. I felt bad about it. I had nothing to blame but myself, for spending too much of my time building my career and chasing my dreams. Well, I certainly can’t reverse that back now, nor can I travel back in time to patch things up for both of us. There’s nothing much that I can do, or want to do, other than to convince him to go to this certain place for his treatment and everything will be taken care of from now on…

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July 28, 2003

recovering…

You know … it’s really hard to boot yourself back in track when you’ve been derailed from depression. This is exactly what I am trying to do now. I am trying to handle things like how I’m supposed to… I am trying not to be affected too much by the issues that I am encountering now.

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