This is me.
My Angkong

No internet at home for a week so I broke down and went to my cousin's house to blog on his laptop. Sorry for the long wait, all. Here's the post I was supposed to post last Friday (yesterday):

I was planning to post on the trip I've just taken, but that'll have to wait. Things happen. Like Angkong --- the Chinese name for my paternal grandfather --- dying at 9:56 pm last night. November 6, 2008.

It was so sudden. But then, in a sense, it wasn't. My Angkong's been bedridden after a stroke about eight years ago. That didn't stop my uncles and my Dad from getting him to enjoy life though. We brought him on a trip to see his roots in China about three years back. I can still remember how happy he was, and how my Dad and uncles would crawl with him on their backs to get him to a First Class airplane seat without a wheelchair.

But I'm digressing. I've been doing that a lot; I guess I'm just tired. My eyes are still a bit swollen and my head's pounding slightly. I keep misplacing things today, and I've suddenly gotten this huge appetite (which often happens when I'm tired).

My Angkong was an amazing person. He migrated to this country alone as a kid during the beginning of the Communist era in China. He worked and sent money home. He subsisted on bats and cats, and hid from war planes during the Second World War. He worked hard, and loved to learn. I mean, he adored it when I corrected his English. I never heard any "I'm-much-older-than-you-I-know-much-better" monologues from him, just thanks for helping him get the words right.

Not that he was perfect, you understand. Far from it. But in the end, he loved us all loads.

My family is glad he isn't suffering anymore, that he's in heaven looking down on us and feeling the youngest he's been in years. Listening to his breath rattle and watching him struggle was difficult. And we're also glad we've spent so much time with him through the years. There were no real regrets; just memories.

For instance, he was the first and only person I told that I was the high school valedictorian before my graduation; my parents and everyone else only found out during the ceremony. I remember what a kick he got out of that; he laughed through the tubes attached to his neck.

I remember loads of things from last night. Some are inconsequential like my aunt wearing Lee jeans. Others are sadder like my Dad, who'd gone on a business trip, crying and telling me "I don't know why I'm here!" over the phone when he couldn't catch a flight home. Then there was my uncle just arrived from a delayed plane trip and running in to hug Angkong and burst into tears. The wailing from forty people crowded around the bed when we all realized Angkong had died. And my hysterical Ama --- Chinese for paternal grandmother --- being pulled off the dead body.

My mind is spinning, but there's still so much to do. Old pictures to go through for the wake, a full white wardrobe to get for the next few days of mourning (a Chinese tradition), eulogies to write, and people to comfort. And on top of it all, school.

But I know we'll be okay. We'll live, and work, and do our best. I suddenly remember how happy he was that I'd taken Chemical Engineering, and I know he'll keep being proud of me. And one day, I'll get to see him again.

Until next time then.

Daisy on 11/08/2008 11:09:00 AM