I grew up in a big family. It has not been just me, but we its togetherness. In just one day, someone so dear to me is forever gone. I have never imagined a forever goodbye. She was healthy and strong. How I’m I supposed to believe that she’s gone in just one evening after visiting the doctor? How do you think I can accept this? I am so angry. Yes, may be there is an afterlife, so what, then doesn’t it mean we have to meet her only after we gone from this current life?
I know life is so fragile, but I did’t know then it was my last summer at home that I could see her face. I’m going to relive the memory here so that I can remember her. Grandmother, you told me three years is long, but I thought it is not so. Now that you are not here anymore. I have come to realise it is really long. Why, because it is the last goodbye. Well, in fact, we haven’t said goodbye yet. It hurts because you love all of us so much. The day I left home for studying here, you kissed me all over and gave me a big hug. Every time I call, you wish me be well and healthy. The first thing I pray during new year is for everyone at home to be fine and healthy. How am I not supposed to be angry with god that my prayer is not answered.
Now that I think about it. Thank you so much grandmother for being forever kind to all of us and openly showed us your feeling. On the way back, it also reminds me of grandfather. I learned that grandfather loved us too, I don’t know how much but I got to imagine its hard for him to express his love verbally. We too, because grandfather looked as if he is strong, but he is fragile too. We haven’t openly shown him how much he mean to us. I hope he knows we love him too. Are you guys together now?
One of my best memory is going to Mondulkiri province with you both. You loved it so much. You offered the mango to pray to angels there and we rode across a range of beautiful green hills. The weather was cool, so much better than other area of Cambodia.
There was one day grandfather asked me to fetch him a tool, I was quick and got it to him in seconds. He told me if I always worked this fast, I will become a great person. He does’t like being lazy.
Grandfather passed away when he was 74 and grandmother passed away when he was 75 years old. He is 6 years older than grandmother.
Last summer, there was a demonstration in Cambodia. I rode on motorbike with her there. We had pizza at the riverside. Grandmother is a devoted Buddhist. I got up late almost everyday. She would continuously asked to go to pagoda. That time I went there twice with her. We prayed at grandfather stupa. And we also went to pray at a place of a deity called Loakta who looks after people; a kind of superstition. She cleans that place very well. All the remaining candles, plus dirts were washed cleaned by her. She walks fast. I didn’t think she was growing old.
Then I think about all the stupid time she has gone through. The damn wars in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge and civil wars and the time she and grandfather had to struggle for a living and supported all of us. Whenever I think about wars, I can never make any sense out of it. The politics that Cambodian leaders have never really worked. I wonder what has gone wrong in the head of those stupid leaders. Don’t they put well being of their people as priority. Screw those to want things that do not belong to them in the first place. Can’t they stop this already.
During Khmer Rouge, grandmother already had at least 6 to 7 children. All of them survive except one who passed away after he/she born for 9 days because may be the tools for used in the delivery was not hygienic. When my grandmother pray, she always dedicated all the good deeds to all the relatives and our ancestors. We don’t know how she could remember all of their names.
She only able to learn to read and write Khmer language from her father, but she learned it well. There were time when she recalled her dad teaching her French language. In Buddhist ceremonies, lots of things need to be prepared counting from plates, glasses, pictures of buddhas, and blankets for the guests. Grandmother actually had them prepared in advance. Whenever the ceremony ended, she would clean stuffs and put it back to its place neatly so that we do not have trouble finding them.
In grandmother room and on the wall outside her room, she like to sticks photos of all of us on the wall. There are so many of them.
I guess you miss me too? Thanks for appearing in my dream. Two days ago I dreamed about you in the early morning teaching how to recite buddhist prayer. I do not want to give up on god either, so I will continue to believe that there is god who is taking of you and as long we love people, things will turn out fine for all of us. Grandmother and grandfather, please do not worry about all of us. We will be doing just fine and we will love each other as you wish. I too still believe in humanity. May you both stay happy wherever you are.