Death. A word that I’ve learnt since young, yet seemed so foreign to me.

It did crossed my mind before how I’d react when someone close to me dies. Still, this thought always puzzles me. Should I cry my heart out because I’ve lost someone I care about? Should I stay strong and hold my tears, so that I can comfort someone else? Or should I be happy because that person is at ease now? I’ve never encountered death of someone close to me till recently when yeye passed away.

Death is part and parcel of life. Death is inevitable. When your day comes, you leave every earthly material you own behind, bringing only memories. When yeye passed away,  I cannot help but think that death isn’t intimidating for the one that is facing it. It is, however, nerve-wrecking for the people around you. When you are lying there, close to your death, there is nothing you could do. But the people around you, they see your breathing starts to slow, your mind starts to slip consciousness, they scream, they cry, they panic because they know they are gonna lose you. For good.

One moment they are there, sitting and talking to you. Another moment, they lie there unconscious. Oblivious to our pleas for them to just look at us one more time. Hear another sentence of ‘I love you’. Hear the ‘sorry’ we were too proud to say. That’s the thing about death, it is always harder for the living, the ones that are left behind.

Yeye opened his eyes to looked at me as I sat by his hospital bed, and then closed again and  gathered his energy for a nod in recognition that I have come to visit him. We sat there for hours, don’t know if Yeye is gonna make it through the day. Then his breathing starts to get slower. 28 breaths per minute. 20 breaths…. we braced ourselves for this moment. We know Yeye is gonna leave us for a better place. We know Yeye will stop suffering. We know that this is part of life, that we all are gonna face it one day. Yet, yet I cannot help but bawled my eyes out. I was the lucky granddaughter. I am the oldest, had all his attention to myself for a brief moment. I don’t remember much about my childhood with Yeye, because he was a reserved person. But I do remember the subtle gestures he did for me, how he would bring me watches from his workplace, how he would urge me to eat more of things I like, how he would change the channel to cartoons for me when I’m bored. When I grew up, my interaction with Yeye lessen, yet his concerns for me did not. I remember how I came back from Greece, and we visited him in the hospital, he was smiling and said that he was so worried for me and glad that I’m back. Such small gestures that said ‘I love you, I care for you’ in his own way.

I can’t really explain how I cope with the lost. I cried my heart out away from people, then tell myself it is for his better, then tried to distract myself, then keep them deep in my heart. Yet, when I was up at grandma’s house, my eyes unconsciously dart at the chair yeye always sits, hoping to find him there. One week ago when we visited him, he was still in good shape. And the next, he was lying motionlessly in the coffin.

All I can say now is that I hope yeye is in a better place, no more pain and suffering. My first death experienced really showed me: life is short, you cannot bring anything with you when you die, whether you enjoyed life or not you’ll still die anyway. In honor of yeye, I hope to live my life more fulfilling, do the things that I want, visit places, and just live life. Live in the moments.

爷爷,谢谢您这些年给我的爱和照顾。一路好走。您永远都会留在我的心中。

Till then.

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