Dad came home on 3rd day of CNY almost lunch time and he looked real sad. He said that 5th Grand Aunt had just passed away the night before. Tears covered his eyes as he spoke. He just came from visiting their home. Dad said that she is very "hor mia" cos she choose to go Home after the CNY celebrations ... and when all the children get to come home to send her off. The next day, I send Dad for the funeral and brother-in-law send him home. He came home teary and sad.
Mom also spoke highly on Grand Aunt ... said .. she is really respectable for not remarrying after her husband passed away but concentrated in bringing up her kids well. According to Mom, her husband was killed by the Japanese during the Japanese occupation in Padang Astaka and was simply buried there. It seems many were killed and buried in this place during Japanese Occupation. If Mom's story is true, then, the grave may be located there now though Padang Astaka is now a field where people jogs. There is NOT a single sight of grave but who knows, there might be mass grave or graves hidden somewhere underneath .....
Dad had really gone thru quiet a bit past few years as he sees one by one of his friends and people his generation slowly fade away. In fact, he went into depression after Uncle Yong Ching passed away. But thank God he came out of it ... but now ... with 5th Grand Aunt's passing ... its a mix feelings for Dad again. Its always hard to say goodbye to our love ones .... especially with someone as godly and loving like 5th Grand Aunt.
5th Grand Aunt is my Dad's fifth uncle's wife. Great Grand Dad had 8 sons and all of them followed him to Malaya way back in perhaps the 1930s. My own Grand Dad is the 3rd son. It seems the 4th son decided to settle down in Sibu instead of Sitiawan. So, I have unknown relatives in Sibu ...:)
I actually don't remember any of Dad's uncles except for 8th uncle .... cos his name was mentioned quite a bit in the family and I know he lives in Simpang Tiga, just some where behind Grand Ma's house.
But I remember 5th Grand Ma very well -- though I never know how she is related to me till when I was much much older. I remember Dad fetching me on his old bicycle to 5th Grand Aunt's house when I was very young - opposite of Nan Hwa. I can recall that Grand Aunt will serve us drinks and sometimes a box of pickled lime to eat. Off course, its also the place where I met Grand Aunt's grandchildren who later became my MIF/MYF buddies.
Dad will go see Grand Aunt to share his problems, struggles and challenges. Grand Aunt always speak words of encouragement and even prayed for Dad. She is a petite little lady and slim, wears cheong sum and has long straight white hair which she neatly buns it up .... I suspect her feet were bounded, soft spoken and gentle .... full of love and compassion ... and a good, patient listener. One does have to be a good listener to hear out Dad's struggles especially when he has a tendency of repeating the same thing.
Then, in my teens, I remember Grand Aunt as someone who is not only active in church but also actively reaching out to the needy around her. I was living in Taman Maju and Taman Hijau that time (at the back of her housing estate) and I recall seeing her waiting for the local green bus to take her to Simpang Tiga where her church is ... and she was able to chase after the bus in cheong sum!!! Amazing!! She was easy 60-70 years old then ... During that time, I befriend a single Mom (Bebe) who lives around our housing estate as well. This single mom has a lot of problems and Grand Aunt also extended her ministry of love and compassion to her as well ... including giving her money.
Few years ago, I asked Dad about Grand Aunt. He told me that they are celebrating her 100th birthday!! WOW!! She lived 30 years in the grace of God. Dad said she is much weaker now ... memory was failing but she still gets on the piano to play simple songs daily .. wow... amazing!
Grand Aunt went Home at the age of 104 - she must have gone through a lot in her life ... having survived both wars, widowhood at a young age, single Mom to 4 children ..... but I have say that she indeed is filled with love and compassion of God - a godly and god fearing lady ... she must have also been the generation who had seen and experienced the revival and fire of God in Sitiawan under the ministry of John Sung, just like my maternal grand ma. O yea ... it was on her funeral bulletin that I found out she has the same surname as Mom ... wonder if they could be related too ....
The words that came to me when I heard of Grand Aunt's passing .... and these words I dedicate it to her in remembrance of her life and touch in my family ..... I am glad and am honored that God made my path cross with hers in this lifetime ... I pray and hope that my life will also be lived to the fullest and I can also echo the same words that I dedicate to her in my own departure ....
We will miss you Great Grand Aunt!!! Till we meet again ..... to God be the glory!!!
"For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing." ( 2Tim 4:6-8)