Tuesday, 1 May 2012


My grandfather drew his last breath at a quarter to 4a.m. this morning. I was in the hospital until almost 2a.m., and watching him suffering was the hardest thing I'd ever had to do. I'd never seen anyone dying before. It was harder than any essay I'd had to write, any research I'd had to undertake, any argument I've ever had, any girlhood heartache, recovery from bleeding knees or elbows from falling down in carparks ... I turned the corner in the Intensive Care Unit, saw him hooked up to tubes and an oxygen mask and battle through every breath he was pushing himself to take, and my eyes sprung a leak and spilled water down my cheeks.

They told me he was too weak to talk, but when he saw me cry, he somehow found a spot of strength nobody knew remained, and said, "Tissues... get her tissues."

I wondered if that would be the last time I would see him alive, or maybe by some miraculous recovery his tongue and lungs would regain their full use and his body work like it was 20 years younger again, but he was 75 and suffering and humans aren't meant to live forever... and a part of me wished he would let go so he wouldn't suffer anymore.

"I'm a big girl now," I said, trying to smile at him through the leak in my eyes and bad Cantonese. "You don't have to worry about me anymore."

He nodded. And that was the last thing I ever said to him.


Anonymous said...

Such beautiful and loving writing. He must have been a great man.