In love, in death

Since I returned from Darwin, I’ve attended two funerals. One was my grandma and last night, I attended the wake of her sister (my grandaunt). It caught everyone by surprise that our grandaunt passed on so suddenly, for she was neither sick nor ailing.

It’s an emotionally battering period for everyone in the family when the matriarchs are slowly making their exits. My grandma and her sisters have held the family together for decades. Now there are so few of them left. These are the women who raised us, and taught us everything they knew.

And they were very talented too. Grandma and her sisters could make anything with their hands; from sewing the traditional kasut manek manek (beaded slippers), to cooking every single Peranakan dish, fashioning inventive desserts and birthday cakes, making clothes for the girls and just creating handicrafts out of household items. Come to think of it, they were the original Martha Stewart before she brought home-style living to popular culture today.

While almost all my aunts have inherited or learnt the crafts from our grandmothers, it’s sad that not many in my generation have done so. I’m probably one of the very few in the family who can still understand and converse in Peranakan and even whip up some of the dishes, while most of my cousins can’t.

While at the wake last night, my aunts came up to me to commend me on the eulogy that I delivered at Grandma’s funeral: “You sounded exactly like her, when you said that,” they commented. Ah, the anecdotes that I can tell from being raised by my grandparents! When such loving, yet strong-willed people raise you, it’s a wonder that you don’t start sounding or even behaving a little like them after some time.

From death my thoughts shifted to love. My old friend, Mr Mogel finally sent me a picture of his adorable kids. I’m not much of a fan of kids but the picture absolutely melted my heart, I’d post them online but I don’t know how comfortable he is about that, so I’ll refrain.

For a bittersweet moment, it made me long for things that I’ve much thought to lately and actually feel things that I’ve kept inside for so long.

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Ever prodded a sleeping dragon, only to have it whip up and bite you in the ass? Well, neither have I. But I advocate that you should try everything...once ;P


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