When I touched her forehead, it was cold but not clammy. Her skin was very smooth and was quite cheery in colour. Her eyes were partially closed and her face was well filled up, unlike her normal skinny looking face. My aunties were telling me that she was alright last night and was very alert to her surroundings. In fact, after the doctor pumped out the waste material in her bowels, she was commenting that she felt so much better, not as bloated as before. She even had a cup of cereal too.
This morning at around 6am, I was woken up by my parents' cryings. I knew at once that the inevitable had happened, but it was still very unexpected.
At the hospital, I saw my 2 aunties with very red and swollen eyes. I looked behind the curtain and there she was, lying peacefully on her bed, like she was sleeping. The only thing that gave away her state was the absence of pillow behind her head. She was lying with her head on the mattress and her head was tilted slightly upwards. Mum and Dad went to her and began to talk to her silently, telling her that everything was alright and that she could go peacefully. All her children are all grown and there is nothing for her to worry anymore.
I have never seen my Dad cry before and this was a huge shock to me. My Dad's tears were literally dripping and his voice was choked with emotions. Mum had to shout out so that her voice would not break. I stood at the foot of her bed and looked on, trying hard not to cry.
Then Mum said, "Jinghua, come over and tell Granny that you are here already."
I went over and touched her forehead and said, "Mama, I am here already, I have come to bring you home. We are going home."
And I had to sitfle my floodgates of emotions before I could get my words out. Her forehead was cold and she just lied there unemotionally, unfeeling with no reactions. I almost wanted to shout at her and ask her to wake up cos I missed her and do not want her to go, she should not leave us.
But she lied there, cold and stiff. I felt something wet on my feet and I realized that I dropped some tears down.
The last time I spoke to her was on Sunday. I went to visit her at the nursing home and she was looking very daze, as if she had no idea why she was there. She kept complaining that she did not feel like eating. The last words that I said to her before I left was, "Mama, you got to eat, otherwise you have no stregth and I cannot bring you out for walks when I am here to visit you. Next time I come over, I want to see you eating, ok."
She nodded her head in acknowledgement and I gave her shoulders a slight press before leaving her.
And last night I wanted to rush down to the hospital to visit her. When I got home, it was going to rain and the sky was red and dark. So me and sis decided that we should visit her at the hospital tonight instead.
And yet, we still could not make it on time. She was gone before we had a chance to bade our farewells.
I looked at her on her bed and she was so frail and tiny. She used to be so strong and independent. When she was in her 70s, she used to venture out of her house alone, without losing her ways. She was always there during my childhood, always advising us calmly whenever my uncles and aunties met any problems. She was the matriarch of our family and she was the person that bind us together.
During her last days, she looked so different, so old, so frail and so vulnerable. And so much like a child.
I am so sorry that I wasn't there to see her for the last time when she passed on.