People tend to forget moments.
You know, the simple moments like being picked up after school, riding on a horse at zoo, welcomed home with favorite food, or just as simple as a 'thank you' message.
None of them sounds special or anything, doesn't it?
Then again people often remember them later on as regrets.
I am the only daughter in my family and, as the second child, I do have the tendency to put myself as a good one. I mean, trying to beat my smart but lazy older brother, being a good sister for my two little brothers, working to help my family. Sure I am far from a perfect daughter but, hopefully, I'm still trying.
My grandparents from father's side have deceased even before I was born so I never met them. I have no memory about them. Meanwhile, I live with my grandmother from mother's side. My grandfather lived at another place but he often visited us from time to time.
He's tall and strong. He liked to play with my little brothers, taking them around with his motorcycle. However he never ignored me. He would smile to me whenever I called him 'Grandpa' and defended me when I got scolded by my parents. Oh well, I'm not the most obedient kid.
I remember we once went to a zoo and all of us took a picture together: my parents, the four children, and my grandparents. I'm pretty sure it's the only picture we have with complete family members. It's far before the era of Instagram or digital pictures. Can you imagine how precious it is for me now?
Oh, of course no. Not yet, I think. This post is not yet finished.
So, days passed by and each of his grandchildren grew up, of course.
Have you ever heard that sometimes we, the children, keep growing up and often forget that, at the same time, our parents grow old too?
Our grandparents too.
When I was still at college, my grandfather often visited us with a cap; his favorite blue cap. He liked to buy pisang goreng (fried banana) for us. We loved it even if he bought it almost everyday. He always remembered to keep one for each of the grandchildren.
Then years went by and I graduated, and I worked, and I moved to another job. Life got busier and, of course, time waits for no one, doesn't it?
My grandfather finally moved to live under the same roof with me because of his health.
He still liked to walk around just to get some fresh air, but he walked slowly so he would not fall. There's one evening when he walked a little bit farther than usual and returned with martabak. He kept asking if it's delicious: "Grandpa will buy it again tomorrow if you like it."
He really liked to eat the floss bun. He liked to eat sweet stuffs, just like me and my grandmother.
Around this time, I realized that he became so thin. He moved weakly, he talked slower, he did everything differently.
I rarely talked with him or anyone in my house, except my mother. Ever since January this year, I spent most of my life at another city due to work. Let's just say I only spend around 120 days in Jakarta out of 365 days in 2015.
My brother works overseas around the same time and my father just took another job at overseas as well months ago. My first little brother is studying at college and my youngest brother will graduate from high school next year. There were only my mother, my grandmother, and my grandfather most of the time at house.
Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months.
You know, sometimes people who have grown old act like little kids. They crave for attention, a little bit too whiny, and do things as they want. I listened to my family's about this when I was out of the town and I calmed them down, telling them that things would turn out just alright.
So last month, when I returned home for three days at mid of August, he's not doing better than I expected. He's so weak that he needed to ask our help to get some water. When I gave him, as always, he'd say 'thank you'. And when I asked if he needed anything else, he'd say that it's fine for now.
The next time I came back, there's no more greeting or words from him. He just laid on his bed, sometimes talked to whoever that wanted to listen to him. With just several days in Jakarta, I only saw him before I left the house to meet my friends or work and gave him another glance when I returned at night.
It's 13 September when I wanted to buy his favorite floss bun but my mother said that he's refusing any kind of food at the moment.
It's 14 September when I last saw him sleeping as usual. There's no more 'take care' or 'be careful at another city' like how he used to tell me before I left with my luggage several months ago.
It's 19 September when I decided to buy extra lapis surabaya for him. 'He'd like it,' I told myself. I usually just bought one box for my family but I wanted to buy two of them, bringing them when I return to Jakarta in a week. It's also the time when my mother discussed about bringing him to the hospital for medical checkup.
It's 22 September 2015, almost eight in the morning, when my mother dropped me a message.
My grandfather took his last breath around 2-3AM in the morning today.
Within all honesty, I thought I wouldn't cry. Of all my siblings, I am the one who used to carry the emotions for myself because I don't want to burden my parents. I need to be strong because if I don't do that, who will be their pillar of strength?
Yet I cried my heart out this morning when I listened to my mother.
It's like every memory about him kept replaying inside my head. Each of those simple moments that used to make me smile, everything just returned to me as the tears choked me.
Maybe it's because I was barely at home when he struggled. Or maybe it's because I wasn't there when he's gone. Or maybe it's because I remember that there are only my mother, my grandmother, my aunt, and my little brothers there. Or maybe it's because I feel like I'm a bad granddaughter.
When did the last time I hugged him? When did the last time I smiled at him? When did the last time I actually talked to him?
When did the last time I ever thanked him?
Now I barely could say 'goodbye', 'sorry' or 'thanks' to him.
Grandpa, I don't know how to reach you anymore but I really do love you with all my heart. Each of us does.
For every mistake we did, we're sorry. For every kindness you gave, we're thankful.
Rest in Peace, Kong Kong. We love you.
22 September 2015
from a granddaughter to her beloved grandfather
* * *
I'm listening to "I'm Fine Thank You" by Ladies' Code for the whole day.
It's also a tribute for two young K-Pop idols who unfortunately left the world last year due to a car accident.
It's a sad song but, really, never once I thought I'd cry when I listened to this song until today.
"Just for today, I cry
Be happy forever, good bye"