Saturday, 2 August 2008

Safe in the arms of Jesus

26 July 2008
Saturday, 8 a.m.

I was woken up by my dad's insistent tapping on my bedroom door. I sleep-walked towards the door and opened it with slow,sleep-drugged movements. My parents normally let me have my lie-in on bed during weekends, you see. As soon as the door was unbolted and opened,my dad said in a low,urgent tone :

"Joyce,wake up,you need to pack your things. We have to go back to Klang later. Por-Por has just passed away."
The news did not fully register in my brain until I had closed the door and sunk into my chair. My maternal grandmother.........................gone. . . . . . .??
Sadness was a very painful feeling at that moment. I stared at the picture of my grandmother which I pinned up two years ago. Was that old lady,whom;in that picture,smiling softly and whose hand I held,really gone??

. . . . . . . . . . .
It was very unexpected. I had thought she was going to stay. After all she had been through...heart attacks,followed by a stroke that left her paralyzed on her left side. She was bedridden,but we all had thought,she would stay with us longer.

I recall my last moments with her. In the hospital,where she was recuperating from the heart attacks,before her stroke. The most vivid in my mind;she was sitting on the bed,eating a bowl of porridge and making small talk with my mother. After that,I was left alone with her to keep her company while the rest of my family went out to lunch. I was never very good at making conversation with her with my limited Chinese vocabulary. But I tried,I enquired about some small bruises on her hand (result of needles) and from there,I ended up holding her hand until she fell asleep. The day after,I had returned Ipoh, with assurance that Por-Por was going to be okay. The doctor had assured us she was fine.

I did not see her when she had a stroke because only my mother rushed there and back. My parents had planned a family trip back to Klang to visit her but before that weekend came,she had breathed her last.

When I reached Klang,the old family house where my grandma stayed looked alien to me. Two temporary dark blue tents were erected at the porch with white banners fluttering from them. I could not read the chinese characters on the banners but this sign shook the calm composure which we had been constructing throughout the 2 and 1/2 hours journey to Klang.

The living room was unrecognizable.
I felt like asking them to clean up everything and return the furniture back to their normal places. But;the next room I went into made me break down completely. My Por-Por's room. Her still body on the bed;my aunts,my mother,around her..sobbing.

I won't describe the events in detail. We (my family members) cried a lot during the two days where wake services were conducted by my grandma's church members,the funeral service and the burial ground. I would like to highlight that I was truly touched at the way my grandma's church members went about doing all they could to help. From advising on the funeral arrangements,helping to find the right people to do what was needed,giving comfort where and when it was needed....and most importantly,that GOD's plan was at work.

I found this double-budded rose (unique because it has two buds) in one of the many wreaths which people offering condolences sent for my grandma's funeral. My grandma loved flowers. I wish i could have shown this to her....
We were mourning...
But this last hymn which was sung at my grandma's wake gave the best reassurance to us.

'Safe in the Arms of Jesus'

  1. Safe in the arms of Jesus,
    Safe on His gentle breast,
    There by His love o'ershaded,
    Sweetly my soul doth rest.
    Hark! 'tis a song of heaven
    Borne in the sweetest voice,
    Echoed by saints in spirit,
    Making my heart rejoice.

    • Safe in the arms of Jesus,
      Safe on His gentle breast,
      There by His love o'ershaded,
      Sweetly my soul doth rest.

  2. Safe in the arms of Jesus,
    Safe from corroding care,
    Safe from the world's temptations,
    Sin cannot harm me there.
    Free from the blight of sorrow,
    Free from my doubts and fears;
    Only a few more trials,
    Only a few more tears.

  3. Jesus, my heart's dear Refuge,
    Jesus has died for me;

  1. Firm on the Rock of Ages
    Ever my trust shall be.
    Here let me wait with patience,
    Wait till the night is o'er,
    Wait till I see the morning
    Break on the golden shore

That's where my Por-Por is right now...

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