Thursday, February 19, 2009

R.I.P. Ah Nei (1918-2009)

My grandma or Ah Nei in our Hakka dialect finally left us at 3:30pm this afternoon. She was 91.

Ah Nei
has been hanging on by a life's thread since she was admitted to I.C.U. early Sunday morning. She was having much difficulties to breathe.. Doctor said nothing much can be done - she was having pneumonia - her lungs were filled with fluid; she has very high diabetic level, her kidney has failed and her heart is weak.

But she was a fighter and did not let go easily..

Her condition remained critical - in fact, her feet and hands were cold and swollen and at one time, her big toe nails had turned black.. But then she sorta surprised us by hanging on and even appeared to have improved slightly over the next few days..

She managed to open her eyes although she could not see.. but the killer that made her suffer was the phlegm in her lungs and throat. It was really pitiful to see how she struggled to breath while drowning in phlegm.. and the physiotherapist had to use tube to suck out the phlegm which is a painful procedure..

The family members had been hovering in her hospital bedroom (we requested her to be transferred to normal room since nothing much can be done). Aunts and uncles and cousins from Singapore came. Even my sis and brother-in-law came back for two days from Hong Kong. Wind let out and about a dozen of our relatives came to see her too.. She has so many visitors in the course of the four days.. Indeed she's well loved.

Ah Nei is your typical strong and determined Hakka woman. She has had a hard life in her younger days but her health had been good. She was still fit in her late 70s. She went traveling with us and climbed stairs and got wet in the rain in Hong Kong.

The turning point came in 1998, when she had blockage in her heart vessels and the doctor suggested she went for angioplasty. She was 80. We had doubts, but the doctor was so confident.. However, it wasn't successful. During the procedure, she suffered a mild stroke, which affected the left side of her body.

Ah Nei's physical condition took a big set-back, and since then, gradually deteriorated over the years.. First she was walking with a walking stick, next she was on wheelchair.. and then in the last two years, after she suffered a fall and another stroke, she became bedridden..

One year ago, on the third of CNY, Ah Nei was warded due to pneumonia.. which is currently her killing weapon. She pulled through but since then, she was put on tube feeding, and her body became even weaker by day. She hardly talked anymore, the most was in isolated words and very short sentences.

And just a week before CNY this year, Ah Nei had breathing difficulty again and was warded for three days. It was serious at first but she became stable.. only that we didn't realise she had suffered another stroke. When she came back, her body began to give way totally... she never uttered another word and her eye-sight also failed completely.

This time, she was hospitalised again and it was a trip of no return..

I regretted of not being around her when she breathed her last. I was planning to go to hospital later in the afternoon as I wanted to meet a deadline. According to uncle who was by her bedside, Ah Nei went very peacefully. She just drew a long breath and gave up her spirit..

I was still fighting back tears when I drove to the hospital but when I saw her cold still body lying on the bed, I could not hold back anymore. Afterall, this is the only grandma that I ever knew, who had been living with us since I was born (except for the few years when she moved out with grandpa).

In the last few years I have witnessed her condition deteriorated and till such an extend that we know it's better for her to be relief. She is finally not suffering anymore.. But now that she's finally gone, there is this emptiness around.

I have just chosen an outfit for Ah Nei. Her body will be placed at the Xiao En Centre where relatives and friends would come and pay their respects.. on Sunday morning, she will be cremated and laid to rest.

Rest in peace, Ah Nei. We will always love you and miss you...


Here are some photos from her better days..

a photo of Ah Nei at her bed taken about three years ago

Ah Nei with children and grandchildren on her birthday in 2005

Ah Nei's birthday celebration in 2006

Ah Nei's 90th birthday celebration outside in Septemer 2007. Last year, her last birthday was not celebrated due to her ailing condition
Ever faithful Wati who has been taking care of Ah Nei for the last 4 years..

5 comments:

Dancing Viv said...

This was very well written. I am feeling crushed now. But, I think she's at a better place with ah gung and my mum. I'll see you tomorrow, cousin. Be strong.

Anonymous said...

please accept my deepest condolences. and may she rest in peace.

essey

jesscet said...

Viv: thanks.. you take care and be strong too.

essey: thanks for your condolences, appreciate it.

Lydia Teh said...

Deepest condolences. Take care.

jesscet said...

thanks Lydia..