Opah is my mom’s mother. She and my dad’s mom (Tok) became really close after my parents got married and it was so cute to see. They would dress the same for Raya, they would sleep together, they would play with their grandkids together…it was nice that the 2 grandmas really got along.
Tok passed away a few years back and Opah thinks about her all the time. She never got to see my sister marry or give birth, so Opah always feels sad whenever there’s a big event in the family because she feels a void. She insists on visiting Tok’s grave ever so often and whenever she does, she always wants me to come along. If not, she refuses to go.
I’ve been so busy so I haven’t had the time to go lately.
But I promised Opah to go one Friday morning (we only go early in the morning since it’s cooler and less hectic).
Woke up early to go. Saw that it was raining! Opah and I had to postpone. I went to work.
I wasn’t feeling well after a hectic week. I really wanted to wake up but I didn’t hear my alarm! My body just needed some more rest. When I woke up, Opah refused to talk to me.
She has these kind of moments now; the older she gets, the more sensitive she gets. I totally understand that because it’s the same for most old people (Hi Mom, Hi Dad!! Hehe…). So I’ve just got to be patient and pujuk her like mad.
When I apologised, she refused to respond. I shook her body, she refused to look at me. She merajuk big time.
I had earlier arranged to take her out to lunch and off to my sister’s house to play with Little Niece and Nephew.
“Don’t la merajuk, Opah. I was really tired last night until I overslept this morning. Come, we go for lunch and see the kids k?”
“No. I don’t want to go anywhere. You go.”
“Please Opah? They’re waiting for us. We’ll go see Tok tomorrow morning ok? Tomorrow’s Sunday, I’m not working.”
“I will not go anywhere for fun without seeing Tok first. Where are your manners?”
I wanted to cry!!!! She was being so difficult. The maid looked at me pujuking Opah and the maid started crying!! We have never seen Opah this sensitive and she pitied me.
I looked outside and the sun was shining brightly. It was too hot to visit the grave and I would think Opah would be too tired to walk in the hot sun. But I tried my luck anyway.
“Ok, come, we go visit Tok now.”
She kept quiet. “No, there’s no driver.”
“It’s ok, I will drive us.”
“You don’t know how to park there. Parking is hard there.”
“Don’t worry about that. I’ll know what to do.”
“No, forget it. You have more important things to do anyway….meetings here and there…” she said sarcastically.
Sigh… but I still kept on my cheery voice.
“Come on, Opah. Let’s get ready k.” I went to take her headscarf and dressed her.
Off we went to visit the grave. Thank God there was no one at the graveyard on a hot afternoon, so parking for me was easy. Wheelchair access is impossible on the narrow paths between graves, so I had to park as close as possible to the graves so Opah didn’t have to walk so far.
I scouted for Tok’s grave and guess what…
I couldn’t find it!!!!
The last time I went was months ago and I felt a lump in my throat filled with guilt. That’s what you get. You neglect your loved ones and when you want to find them again, you can’t. I searched and searched and finally, I saw her name written on the tombstone behind a tree. It was hidden by a tree that grew taller during the months that I had not visited her.
When I found it, Opah walked slowly and we read the Yasin after . I poured water on the grave witnessed by Opah and we both prayed for her in silence.
After the visit, Opah was back to her jovial self again. She was suddenly hungry and she suddenly wanted to go see her great grandkids. And I was happy to see her all upbeat again. And devoted the rest of my evening to her.
Sometimes, elderly people just want attention and we have to be patient. Opah, for one, is a very very understanding grandmother. She just does her own thing and waits for all of us to come home (she still doesn’t sleep until I come home, no matter how late!). She knows I’m busy and she rarely asks for anything out of the ordinary. And when she does, we all make it a priority. And we should!! She raised my mom up in hard times, and without her, I might not even exist.