Monday, November 9, 2015

A month later: In memory of Jacqueline's mother.



Grace wrote this song in memory of her grandmother.


The meaning of eclipse not only means the obscuring of light, but it also signifies deterioration and decline. I wrote the song in remembrance of my late grandmother. The song is about the last night of her life, and the image of the event that continues to linger in my mind.

I flew back to Singapore from Hanoi, a trip of a little more than a thousand miles. I remember stepping into the dark room and seeing her trembling because of the cancer. "恩琦来了- Grace is here" my mother tells her, and I see a tiny hint of a smile that she mustered up a lot of effort for. She was also fighting for each breath, and to see her in so much pain was very heartbreaking. It was only back in July that seemingly…everything was fine, and I still could enjoy her famous sweet and sour pork. Only a few months later, she was unrecognizable to me.

Very vividly, I remember the cross necklace that she put on. I believe it was a sense of comfort and peace as she knew that she was going to pass on to a better place. The whole family was gathered in that dark room, and everyone gave her a kiss on her forehead. As I think about it, I recall the sweat from her forehead that lingered on my lips. From that moment, we all knew it was really goodbye, and wow…tears are salty…
We all waved goodbye as we left the room that night, and I watched her hand move slightly, waving in return, reassuring all of us that she'll be okay, we would be just fine…eventually.
                                          
Music & lyrics by Grace Ong.
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Thank you for your prayers and love during this period of bereavement that Jacqueline, Grace and I went through.  We are thankful that we were all able to all see Jacqueline's mother before she entered into the sweet embrace of her beloved Lord Jesus Christ.  Jacqueline managed to nurse and care for her mother during the last 2 weeks of her mother's life.  Grace and I, together with the rest of the immediate and extended family were able to see her for a last time, expressed our gratitude for her sacrificial life and gave her our good-bye kisses and hugs on the evening before she was called home to be with the Lord the next morning at 5.40 am on Friday, 9th Oct.  My mother-in-law, was 74 years old.

Before her passing, my mother-in-law encouraged us by quoting the Bible verse in Psalm 90:10 saying "Our days may come to seventy years or eighty..." Then she said: "I am already 74."  How many of us can face death with such peace and assurance? Though we continue to grief over our lost of a dear mother, mother-in-law and grandmother, we are all inspired by her simple faith, a life of loyalty and sacrifice.  

Jacqueline would like to share the eulogy which she read out during the funeral service. 
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My Mum was a gentle and quiet lady. She would enjoy a cup of coffee after finishing her day’s of work at home. She cooked, cleaned, washed and took care of her children and grand children with full dedication and love. 

Widowed at the age of 47, she brought up 5 children. She had never complained about her hardships. She was strict and would lay down rules which she thought best for us, in order to make sure that we grew up well. 

Being away from Singapore and living in Vietnam for the past 14 years, Michael, Grace and I would always looked forward to coming to Mum’s home, knowing that she would cook a sumptuous meal for us. I remember writing her a letter when we were away the first year, saying how much I missed her pig stomach pepper soup. After which, she never failed to make that whenever she knew we were back in Singapore.

Her cooking was enjoyed by all her children and grandchildren. It was foolishness to try duplicating her dishes which none of her daughters nor daughters-in-law could succeed. All of us have our favourite dishes made by her. And now we will always treasure the taste and memory of her cooking. 

This is a great loss to us. Knowing that our lives would now be different without Mum being here. Thank you Mum! We are going to miss you dearly and will always remember how much you have loved us.  We love you and know that you are now in the embrace of our Lord Jesus. One day, we will meet again in eternity! 
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