Friday, February 13, 2015

A life well-lived, a legacy of faith

**edited 22 February 2014

Her name was Amy - beloved.

I called her Ah Mah. My paternal grandmother lived 90 years and 18 days before she went home to be with Jesus in the early morning of Sunday, 8 February 2015.

Ah Mah's birthday cake on 21 January 2015

Ah Mah had a hard unloving life. Unknown and untold to many. Hidden beneath her graceful smiles. 
Taken from her biological parents at birth, she was given to a childless aunt so that she could care for them in their old age. 

At 16, she entered an arranged marriage. She always told me that my grandfather (whom I never got to know because he passed away when I was just a year old) did not like English-educated girls because he found them very hao but still married an English-educated girl so that she could do his admin work. It was free labour. 

From the time I was a teenager living in Penang and Ah Mah was living in Kuantan, we communicated via letters. This was before the time of e-mail and facebook. She never forgot my birthday and always sent a card with RM20 as a gift. 

I'm thankful for all the times I had to serve her....taking her shopping, buying her groceries, sending her to church for various activities, buying her cheesecake (she never liked chocolate cakes) and hunting high and low for custard puffs (which she called cream puffs but she never likes those with cream) and in the last few months....cutting her finger nails and washing her dentures.
very elderly people have very thick fingernails which can be very difficult to cut
 In the last days, it was very difficult to see Ah Mah reduced to skin and bones. Her legs were thinner than my thin arms. Her skin looked like stretched cling wrap over sticks. I had no answers when she asked me "What else is there?" with a longing to go Home. 

She ate very little and slept a lot. In fact, she kept taking out her dentures and it could no longer fit after a while. 

taken in July 2010 by
 I did my fair share of crying when I sat at her bedside with her hand in mine as I sang her favourite hymns to her. She loved hymns.

It was one week before she passed away when I prayed for her and told her, "Ah Mah....I know you're tired. It's ok. You can go home. Can you see Jesus? Hold Jesus' hand. He will take care of you".

at my wedding on 2November2002
In the 2 days before Ah Mah passed away, my mum (who had been taking care of her) told me over the phone that Ah Mah slept a lot. She could sleep from 6pm till 4pm the next day. Her breathing was also very slow. I knew she didn't have much longer. I asked God to give me the privilege to hold Ah Mah's hand as she breathed her last.

Ah Mah was a proud grandma when I graduated.
Sadly for me, that was not to be. But God gave me a vision of assurance as He took Ah Mah home.

at Ah Mah's 80th birthday in 2005 - I was expecting her first greatgrandchild.
Early in the wee hours of Sunday morning, my Isaac was feverish and fussy till almost 4am. When he finally settled and I was trying to go to sleep, I dreamt of Ah Mah and I was very conscious that in my semi-sleep-wake state, I prayed for her and asked God to take care of her. I then fell fast asleep peacefully.

in 2009 - Ah Mah with her first 2 greatgrandchildren
When my phone rang at 8am, I instantly knew it was my mum and why she was calling. Ah Mah passed on in the most peaceful way to die - in her sleep, and I believe at the time when I dreamt of her.

we celebrated Ah Mah's 85th birthday with a huge trifle cheesecake
I believe her greatest blessing in life was to see her descendants to the 4th generation in the Lord. She left a legacy of faith that I am more than proud to pass on to my children. That is my greatest inheritance from her - a woman of faith and prayer. I have kept the many birthdaycards she made for my children, with personalized self-written poems!

I'm so privilege to have her pray blessings upon me and my family in her last days. She prayed that God will always watch over us and protect us. 

Her last words to me was one week before her passing. At that point, she could barely speak anymore. I had to put my ear one inch from her mouth and even then, all I heard was a very faint whisper. 

She asked me, "Where are you going?" 
At that point, I told her I had to go home because my children had school the next day. 

But now as I reflect upon her words....I see a deeper meaning. 

Ah Mah was always sure of where she was going. She was never afraid to speak of her death. In fact, she had her funeral all planned out. In her 'final requests' which she wrote 5 years ago, she had chosen all the hymns she wanted to be sung at her funeral. She had a firm faith and unwavering assurance of her mansion in heaven. She was eager and waiting to meet Jesus. She knew where she was going. 

Where am I going? Where are you going?
I can say for sure I will meet her again one day. 

For in Christ, this separation is temporal.

**I should have mentioned this at the wake and funeral but it slipped my mind.

Firstly...about my mum.
I must thank my mother for sacrificially taking care of Ah Mah in her last days, when she was weak and frail and totally dependent on others for even her basic needs. My mum herself is no longer young. At 67 years of age, she is now experiencing hypertension. Yet she dutifully care for Ah Mah....feeding her, changing her diapers, cleaning her and the room, changing her sheets, doing her laundry etc etc etc. Thank you mummy for living out Commandment #5 and being an examplary daughter-in-law. my dearest husband.
Ah Mah always told me that I am blessed to have married well....because my husband is loving, caring and so supportive of everything I do. In actual fact, Ah Mah is blessed because I married well. My daaling has been the best grandson-in-law anyone could have. He took care of the kids to relieve me to see to Ah Mah's needs. In the earlier years, he willingly drove up to Penang for Ah Mah's birthdays. He drove us to Kuantan to visit my grandfather's and greatgrandmother's graves. He was even willing to share a room with Ah Mah (and myself of course) when we went for a prayer conference in Cameron Highlands years ago.

When Ah Mah first moved to KL, she lived with me for a month. Daaling was very accommodating and even chauffered her for church activities. Indeed, Ah Mah was blessed to have a wonderful grandson-in-law.

Rest well now Ah Mah. You have fought a good fight, kept the faith and finished the race well.
I have dreamt of you walking again and I believe you are now not just walking on streets of gold but jumping and dancing in heaven with Jesus....without your tongkat!

We love you and miss you.