A farewell to popo

Popo left us on Tuesday (April 22nd) while lying in the Intensive Care Unit of SGH. I didn’t manage to see popo before her last breath but I’m sure her spirit was aware of my presence.

Anyway, this is not a mourning post because she has already left and life goes on.

The reason I’m blogging now is to document everything that has happened. This funeral has stirred much commotion and drama in my maternal family and I want to remember as much of it as possible, and hopefully put this between my scrapbook pages so that my future generations can read about it.

Since young, bro and I have never been closed to both the paternal and maternal sides of my family. We were probably hanging out with our maternal cousins more often because mummy wanted to visit her parents. Yesterday I got to hear some ugly words hurled at me like vulgarities just a couple of hours before the funeral procession. My youngest aunt shouted at me in front of the entire family as if I’ve caused a great disaster.

Let’s go back to where it began.

My bro refused to visit popo, nor attend any family events for the past year or so. He has made the decision to distant himself away from the maternal family. Of course this decision did not come without years of endurance, giving in, appeasing others, and then finally coming to terms that he should not live his life for others anymore. He has his reasons for doing so and he has explained to my dad and I what’s going through his mind. We love him therefore we respect his decision. We don’t want to impose on him and strain our relationship while trying to make other (not as important) relationships work.

However, we did not make known this side of him to the extended family. We have always covered up the truth when asked. We want to protect our son/ brother, but we fail to see that this protection has caused a crack between the extended family and us. They see bro as a unfilial son/ grandson/ nephew/ cousin, etc.

Yesterday was the final sent-off for popo and bro did not turn up. Once again we covered up for him with an excuse. My youngest aunt refused to accept this and reprimanded me. She hurled harsh words “what kind of father allows such things (referring to bro’s absence)?”, “my mum will haunt your brother”, “your mother told me she would divorce your father”, “we were never close because we dislike your dad”, and many others which I cannot recall clearly. But these were the words that stuck. They pierced through my heart and made me sob uncontrollably. I was upset but I did not want to retaliate. I begged her to stop, I told her to put the blame on me and not my dad nor bro. I offered countless apologies but they were never accepted.

Those tears, they wouldn’t stop rolling. I was helpless but I knew this was the consequence I had to bear on behalf of my family.

Despite all the shouting and finger-pointing, I do not blame my aunt. I know she’s grieving over the loss of her mother and she was having too much angst and sadness in her heart. I could see it in her eyes when she was shouting at me. I just wanted her to stop those hurtful words.

It’s true that words, once spoken, can never been taken back. The scene from yesterday is still on replay in my mind. I don’t think it’s something I can forget but I have already forgiven my aunt.

Later on, my dad told me so many stories of my maternal family. Some of which contradicts the stories I heard from my aunts but I choose to believe my dad. Actually it does not matter since both sides of the story probably hold a grain of truth. Somehow I wished mummy is still around so I could hear her side of the story. I’m guessing there were some misunderstanding that caused the situation we’re in today.

Anyway, to conclude, I guess that’s the norm for a dramatic teochew big family. The stories will be here for generations to stay. Let’s just live in the present and focus on being happy today.

That’s all that matters.


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