16/07/2017

STUCK IN THE PAST

I have been feeling very nostalgic. Ever since grandfather died a few days ago, a lot of old photos popped up, those with him and those without. It's amazing how we long for the past sometimes but probably never thought we would long for those moments at that time. It's like back then when grandpa (which I call Aki) was alive, I never thought visiting him would be something I long for now as it was a routine to visit my grandparents and converse with them over something completely normal like the weather, plants, a bit of a family gossip then of course I'd be on my phone most of the time (something that I honestly regret now). My grandpa would be sitting on his favorite chair, not saying much due to his alzheimer's which made him socially passive but even if he said something, it was always about something nice. If not, he'd be listening to a song called Sepanjang Jalan Kenangan on repeat while accompanying my uncles and dad smoke outside.

I guess that's what I really admire about him. His gift of giving, his gift of making others feel happy and special, even when his alzheimer's took a toll on him. He always had something good to say, something good to do. My relatives and I have been visiting my grandma lately to make sure she doesn't feel lonely and just to support her really. I guess we all know that there's no fun in losing someone we love - death, a break-up, a divorce, really the same thing. All of us talk about him a lot these days, especially everytime we're at her place. I guess we were all remembering him in order to cope with the grief. They were all good memories though, funny memories.

There was a time when my grandma and grandpa were quarrelling over grandpa's diet. Like most Indonesians he was a fan of jeroan and oily food. My grandma warned him to stop eating so much and the conversation went pretty much like this

Grandma: "Don't get too fat otherwise it'd be hard for people to lower you down in to your grave."
Grandpa: "Fine I'll save up then"
Grandma: "What for?"
Grandpa: "So that I can hire more people to lower me down to my own grave"
And then my grandpa continued eating his meal.

My aunt also told me that one of her memories of grandpa that she was most fond of was the time he gave a big amount of money to a gardener at her place. He told her that he knew and he might get the same amount of money tomorrow but the gardener might not know when he will get that same amount again.

My dad told me that my grandpa had a good way of raising his kids up. My grandpa's definition of success is when his kids end up being more successful than him. So what he did was lowering the bars by pretending he was not as good as his kids. My dad told me that grandpa was always, always proud of his kids and grandkids and were always happy showing them off. And it is that confidence that made them feel prepared to face the world.

My fondest memory of grandpa? The time he visited us to Johor Bahru. It was New Year's Eve and we were having dinner at this restaurant where each table came with this New Year Freebies Kit. He could tell that my brother and I were fond of that kit so he took four more kits from the next table just for us. I also remember the time he took me, my brother and my cousins to a forest in his car. He's always had a thing for plants, he was quite the handyman too.

Grandpa's death was a slap on my face, honestly.  It's made me realise that life is short and it's important to spend time with the people you love. It's made me realise that there is never harm in giving. It's made me realise that you only have one shot in life. This may sound grim but it's also made me think about death, about how we never know when, how and where are we going to die but what we know for sure is we'll all end up in a grave somewhere.

x Saras

Saras - Aki - Raras