One Year

Today is the first of May. It is also my grandfather’s first death anniversary.

They say that time heals all wounds but do I still miss him? I think I do. I miss everything that he symbolises.

Life with and without my grandfather is really different. There’s so much that I can say about him but after the past one year, the zen about him really stood out in my mind. That zen was all-encompassing. Life when he was around was calm. It was like he had this gigantic influence on everyone and everything.

Without him? It’s been a living nightmare.

Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. It feels like I’m being slowly driven crazy bit by bit. Finding out that the unconditional love that you took for granted is a big fat lie can do that to you.

For the past three years, I’ve been lied to repeatedly, without a care of how I would feel when I find out. Then I continued to be deceived again and yet again after I already found out. It is like everything that I know has been a lie. One of the few people that should love me most cannot even be trusted to love me. The fake tears and insincere apologies left such a bitter taste on my tongue and I couldn’t do anything about it other than smile bravely and say it would all be okay.

Of course, that’s just a brave front that I’ve put together because that was the ‘correct answer’, the correct thing to do in those situations. It’s also because it is not okay to cry.

I’m all for respecting the elders. That belief has taken several strong blows over the past few months though. It wasn’t just that one person. At my most unhappy moment (for this year at least), you said this to me in such a condescending manner, “妳哭什么?”

You probably don’t have any idea of how much I hated and despised you at that moment. There I was, with my world crashing down around me, and I wasn’t even allowed to cry.

Thinking of it again, I think I still hate you. They say blood is thicker than water. I am choking on the thickness of it now, being related to people who could hurt me so carelessly.

Family… I guess you have to love them but not give them any power over you, if this is even possible.

I know that my grandfather would have lots to say on this, if he was still around. Now that he isn’t, there’s no more words of wisdom to take away the bitterness. He isn’t going to be around to nag at me for being so stupid to hold grudges. He isn’t going to tell me that everything will be okay eventually.



The opposite of utopia

I have not been writing much (or at all) since my grandfather’s death in May last year. It has been almost a year since then and I should have at least pulled myself together enough to get on with life. Because, you know, time waits for no man or woman. Come May this year, I’ll be twenty-seven, and I’m already feeling stress. Sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one and even twenty-five now seem so far back in my past. I can barely remember what I was doing during those milestones. The death of a close one has really brought home the fact that I need to do something about my life before it’s too late as well.

Everything is easier said than done though. What I want to achieve sounds very simple: long-term happiness, but so far it has been a daunting task that I am still struggling with. There have been so many horrible obstacles and unbelievable challenges that I am half-convinced that my goal is never going to be attainable. Has my grandfather’s death been the catalyst for all the horrors that happened? Or was he the shield against them while he was alive?

I really have no idea now.

Everything seems to be falling apart no matter how what I tried to do. I tried my best to be happy. I left a job that I hated and that was the only thing that I succeeded in making me happier. I couldn’t trust most people close to my heart. I only realised how hard I took their betrayals when I found my tears in alcohol (that’s a nice way of saying that I cried after getting drunk). In vino veritas, they say and how right they were. There was so much unhappiness simmering and then rising to the surface that it probably could choke someone to death on it.

I am not exceptionally brave and the unknown is a scary thing to me. Habit and a fear of the unknown have imprisoned me in a cycle of unhappiness where I could not bring myself to cut away the source because it is something familiar and I am afraid of losing that familiarity.

My birthday is in May and a mere three days after my grandfather’s first death anniversary. Needless to say, I probably won’t feel up to celebrating. However, I am determined to turn things around before then. One year is too long to wallow in such despair and I refuse to continue doing so any longer. It will be hard but I will have to toughen myself up to say ‘this is enough’ to all the misery that people are trying to unload on me. I refuse to be unhappy because of such unworthy people.

Three months, that is enough time, isn’t it?




他们年纪还小,就是读小学的那种年纪,很好动,一直动个不停, 玩个不停。他们的爷爷面对着他们,也对他们一直说个不停,不管他们有没有认真在听,他都一直唸,一直比手画脚地,很有耐心地唸。






On Father’s Day today…

My grandfather passed away on 1st May 2013. It was a shock to everyone who knew him. For an old man in his late seventies, it was clear to everyone, he was really healthy and active. He got sick a month or so before his death and he never recovered from it.

Auto-immunity disorder, they said, and his immunity system was failing. It did not seem that bad initially. The nightmare truly started in the last week of it all. There was a host of other problems popping up; they were all problems that he never had before. The vessels connecting to his heart were congested. His lungs were failing. His kidneys stopped working. He could not stop bleeding. He had fallen into a coma. We were pretty much watching him die without being able to do anything to help.

The helplessness? No fun. He was dying, bit by bit, and there was nothing that any of us could do. There was a lot of hand-wringing, sniffling and begging. All of them futile efforts, of course, in the end. We wrung our hands when the doctors were trying to keep his body going. We sniffled when it seemed as if the danger passed. We begged him to be strong, to open his eyes and to not give up, when we thought that he could hear us. It was all futile.

Maybe it was for the best, in the end, because it ended his suffering. My grandfather was a very practical man and had denounced the idiocy of trying to hang onto life too hard. You will know when you’ve lived enough, he had said before, there is no point in living for too long. It was one thing to listen to him declare it so but another to actually do it though.

It hurt to let go. There is a lot of regret about all the things that we’ve not said and done enough. Yet, at the end of the day, it isn’t really about us, is it? Everything is about him no matter how you try to make it all about yourself.

Rest in peace, 爷爷. For what it’s worth, I love you.