Monday, May 08, 2006


Last week:

Mum: G'pa Wong's got cataracts in both his eyes. His left eye will be operated on next week; his right one probably six months after.
G'pa: Oh please....I can see perfectly!
(and then, to prove a point, almost trips over a low stool)

Grandpa's a tough cookie, someone who chooses to keep his feelings to himself than talk to his children. Grandma was his only confidante. Even though its been over a year now since her death, he still "communicates" with her when he's home alone in the mornings. If one did not know better, one would only see an old man reclining in his deck chair, muttering to himself. He has not lost his marbles...its just his way of coping.

Even when we were all weeping at Grandma's deathbed (mum almost hysterical), Grandpa shed not a tear. Calm and collected, his one hand lovingly stroked grandma's hair whilst his other one held her increasingly cold hand. During the funeral, he very matter-of-factly accepted all condolences and assured relatives that this was what grandma had wanted – to die before he did, so that he was able to take care of her till the end.

We worried. We worried about the emotions which lay beneath the brave façade. We worried that the pent-up grief would consume him. But he showed us that though things will never be the same, life goes on.

Love is indeed the elixir of youth. Physically, grandpa has aged quite a bit since grandma’s death. He tires a little more easily, walks shorter distances and I suspect, is a little hard of hearing. But the fire in him still burns as strong as ever. The well-meaning relative who attempts to hold his hand when he crosses the road better be prepared for a reprimand that he is no invalid who needs assistance in moving around.

The next couple of weeks will be a nightmare for mum. Defiant, there is little chance that Grandpa will be meekly taking orders to rest his eye.

A little subdued the night before the operation (during my phone call, he had involuntarily admitted to being unnerved as he was having the operation at the same hospital in which grandma had died in – bad omen apparently – till I reassured him that that was the same hospital in which my bro and I were born, so surely that must tilt the balance towards good karma!), he was all gung-ho about exercising his bragging rights after the operation, “Aiya… that I’ve been through an eye operation…its nothing to be afraid of…I was conscious throughout the ordeal and it was painless….maybe i should just get my right eye cataract removed tomorrow”

After the operation:

Day 1 : Mum caught grandpa sneaking to the computer to check his e-mail whilst she was pre-occupied with cooking dinner in the kitchen. His justification: Am not straining my eyes coz I have enlarged my e-mail font size to 25. Mum confiscated his wireless modem with strict instructions to bro not to set it up again, despite grandpa’s pleas. E-mails would be printed out daily and read to grandpa.

Day 2: Mum came home from work to find grandpa reading the newspapers, using a magnifying glass. She called the local newspaper man to cancel delivery for the month and told grandpa that he could keep abreast with happenings by listening to the news on radio.

Day 3: A neighbour sighted grandpa donning a cap and sunglasses, crouched in the garden tending to his flowers in the sweltering midday sun. World War III broke out when mum was informed. Grandpa insisted that his sunglasses was 100% effective in keeping the dust from his eyes.

Don’t think mum will be winning this long drawn battle coz during my phone call with grandpa just now, he let slip of his plans to take a bus to town tomorrow morning to draw his pension from the bank.

Oh God, just please watch over grandpa, ok?


At 12:22 am, Blogger Aurora said...

Your gramps is such a darling! *prays that God watches over him too*

At 1:45 pm, Blogger Juan said...

I can only hope that when I'm a grandma, I have a fighting spirit like your grandpa ;)


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