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The Day I'll Never Forget

The day I'll never forget is when my paternal grandmother died. This incident occurred four years ago when I was just nine.

I never really hated or liked my paternal grandmother; she was just alright to me.  I seldom talked to her because there wasn't anything interesting that I could talk to her about.

My grandmother was the one who did everything at my uncle's house.  She was like a 'maid' - the one who did the washing, cleaning and cooking all by herself.  Every evening, both my working parents, my little brother and I would drive to my uncle's house for dinner.  Mother was always busy and only usually finished work at six in the evening so she didn't always feel like helping with the cooking or cleaning.

Every evening, I would sit with my family, aunt, uncle and cousins to enjoy a home-cooked dinner but grandmama would be in the living room, folding the clothes and putting them into the basket while waiting for us to finish our meal.  She would usually be the last one to have her dinner and mother would help her with the dishes after grandmama had finished eating.

Grandmama was a strong woman for she did all the household chores herself and never once complained. She was also a very talented woman who knew needlework, craftwork, cooking and also gardening.

Years later, grandmama started forgetting things very easily.  She would forget important things and often needed people to remind her.  She started forgetting small tasks at first but her condition grew worse as she started to forget more important matters.  Sometimes she would even forget the date or where she had left her things.  Then, she started forgetting how to cook certain dishes that she usually cooked and the whole family would end up eating chicken with ginger shreds.

I hated it because every meal would end up tasted the same after a while.  I complained about this to my mother and she told me to stop being selfish.

Then, one morning in October, while grandmama was at the market, she almost fainted but luckily one of the vegetable stallholders saw her and got her a chair to sit on.  She started to calm down but fainted a moment later and was admitted to Normah hospital.  I was still at school then.

I didn't know about this incident when I got back from school, but later after my English tuition at ELC, I received news that grandmama had passed away.  My heart sank then, and I did not know what to do.  I thought my maternal grandmother (the one who told me that my paternal grandmother had passed away) was joking at first, but seeing her serious expression, I knew it was no joke.

I was driven to my uncle's house after my mother had finished work.  Her eyes were red and watery and I could tell that she had been crying.  When I reached my uncle's house, I dashed to the back of the house.

There she was - grandmama being laid down onto some kind of bed but was partly a table.  Her face was pale and her palms were icy cold and her lips had a shade of dark purple.

From what I heard, grandmama had died of a stroke after going through a whole-body scan.  She had died in the arms of her children while a tear rolled down her face. It was almost as if she was reluctant to go.

There was a ceremony performed by monks and priests.  All the children and grandchildren of grandmama knelt before her and I cried terribly and I knew that deep down inside, I really loved grandmama. I never cherished those happy moments with her, but instead I had distanced myself from her.

The next day, grandmama was put into a big coffin with a glassy texture outside and soft pink cushions inside.  We helped grandmama comb her hair and my aunt helped her powder her face and put on lipstick while sobbing.  Her coffin was closed after that. Grandmama was buried late that morning and everyone was sad to see her go.  I promised myself not to cry because the Chinese believe that crying during the funeral is bad luck but I secretly sobbed.   

9th October would be a day I will always remember because it is the day when my beloved grandmama died, and I never even got the chance to say goodbye.
By: Jasmine Lee SiRong

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