I remember a few days back I awoke, crying.
I was dreaming about my grandpa, who was affectionately known as “Ah-kong” to me. I dreamt that I was hugging him and in the dream he was so thin that I could feel his bones. In real life he always had a protruding tummy. He also passed away 6 years ago.
In the dream I cried because he had become so thin and I could do nothing to help him. Then I was awake, and the tears just kept flowing. Bright and early in the morning, I was crying and the towel I placed on my pillow was soaked through.
Then I cried for a solid 5 minutes for everything that I had ever loved and lost. Remembered why I told myself I’d never want to lose anything ever again. I found happiness within myself and never through anything else cause I knew it’d just be another finite source. Because that year, 12 year old me grew up overnight.
My grandpa was a cool man. He used to braid half my hair whilst my maid would braid the other half early in the morning before kindergarden classes started. What to do? I’ve been treated like a princess since a tender age. And everyday after kindergarten class ends, my grandpa would feed me porridge whilst I watched kid shows on TV alongside my little brother who was being fed by my grandma (you could tell which grandparent favoured each of us more).
Flash forward a few years and I was in primary school. My fondest memories of him was when he would drive me to school everyday in his motorcycle when I was in primary one and everyone else who look on in envy as he helped me get off the motorcycle.
“I was a badass since young, obviously.”
Then he got sick. And couldn’t fetch me to school anymore.
All I remember was that he was a good mechanic and that the mahjong table we have at home was handcrafted by him. He had good hands. Strong, sturdy. The same hands that he used to play with my little brother and I; where he would put some change into his hands and if we guessed the amount correctly, we could keep the change.
Or the times when we would give him back massages by stepping on his back. When I grew a little older, he was the first person who encouraged me when I massaged him and said that the massage I gave him was the best he had ever received. I loved him dearly.
On the night before my last PSLE exam, my grandpa was hospitalised. Everything was a blur. My parents went out late at night to visit my grandpa at the hospital and just told me to stay home and sleep for I had my exams the next day even though I really wanted to go visit him.
That night, I dreamt of the temple that my grandma had brought me to worship since young and she had pointed out the two “boxes” that she and my grandpa would one day live in. (For my young mind, I never thought much of it, and now I know that these boxes would contain the ashes of my grandparents)
In my dream, I saw my grandpa’s “box”. I thought it weird but went to school to take my exam anyway. But when I came home to see my beloved mother and annoying Uncle (the most unlikely duo for my mother could not stand him) folding my grandpa’s clothes on the living room floor together, with crestfallen faces. I immediately knew.
I dashed and quickly told my mother I wanted to shower first. In the shower, I cried and cried and cried till my skin turned prune-like and my eyes raw and puffy.
My mum was waiting for me outside the shower door and said: “Do you know what happened?”
I simply nodded and started crying in her arms again. Then I told her about my dream.
I lost my smile that very day.
They say you never truly ever know another person as much as they know themselves. Perhaps. But there is not as much to me as it seems.
It is better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all.
But just once would’ve been enough for me.