"Jacqueline Koh
Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting around for somebody to give you flowers"
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012 || 10:34 PM

I was looking through an old extended family portrait (maternal side), and my eyes fixated mostly on my grandparents who passed away more than 10 years ago. I tried to think of the times we shared, but sad to say, my memory failed me. All I can remember are snippets of still images, 

My grandmother wearing a pair of her signature tinted spectacles

My grandmother calling me dua liak mak (because my eyes were huge & round when I was younger)

My mother massaging my grandmother in her room, while I looked on 

My grandmother had a pretty large mole (or scar as my mum corrected me) on her neck. She had neck cancer.

My grandmother in my grandfather's office, putting cans and cans of tidbits.

My grandmother leaving her birthday party early because she was drained, tired, and sick. 
My grandfather bringing me to his rambutan plantation and he took a swiss-knife out to open the hairy shells of one of them for me. 

My grandfather sitting in one of those wire netted chairs which could be extended out fully, reading newspapers.

My grandfather in his office, going through some paperwork. 

My grandfather lying on the hospital bed laughing at some jokes with my parents, while I poked at his dry flaking skin. 

My grandfather getting baptized in the hospital. 

That's all I can remember. Nothing more. I wished I could remember more of them. No amount of focusing can help me remember more...

The reason I'm blogging about this, is that I never seem to realize how much they loved each other. I have always found it weird that they slept in two different rooms. My mum said that was because as my grandmother was sick, she couldn't sleep in an air-conditioned room. My grandfather, on the flip-side, can't rest properly unless if the room is of a certain temperature. 

I have always found it weird that my grandfather got himself baptized in the hospital, because he was never a church go-er, neither was he particularly drawn to the idea of religion.
I recently just got to know that my grandmother was on the other hand, a devoted Christian, who believed in the idea of heaven after death.  My grandfather got himself baptized because he wanted to play it safe. He thought, if he passed away, with his baptism, he could be reunited with my grandmother in heaven. 

My grandmother passed away after a 7 year battle with neck cancer. My grandfather passed away about half a year following my grandmother's death. He passed away because of grief. He was an introvert who didn't like to express his emotions. He bottled everything up, and that in turn aggravated his Hepitatis B disease. 

My grandfather was an extraordinary man who built a business empire which turned out to be one of Malaysia's largest tapioca flour exporters. He forked out whatever money he deemed was necessary, and stinged on other expenditures. My mother probably got her good money habits from him. 

The family portrait is beautiful. It's perfect in my eyes. 
I won't lie. If given a choice to return to 10 years back, there are many things I would do differently - not that I dislike how I am now - In fact I love myself for who I am. But things might look a little brighter if I could implement my current mindset into the past, into a younger me. But I guess everything happens for a reason. No?  

I wish I could speak to him. He seems to be the only person I can ask for advice at this point of time.