The room felt empty and cold, stripped of its owner’s presence. The bed which I used to see her small, frail figure in was neat and unused. The wheelchair was piled with her cushions and blankets. I could still see her on it.
Just a few days ago I touched her hand for the last time. Thin and feathered with lines, it still had a tinge of warmth.
I hated myself for being too late for her, for never really having known her. For the past ten years and more she had been a mere shadow of herself. Her eyes were open, but saw no one she knew. She lived in the past, though her body aged. On a few rare occasions, almost like a miracle, she was able to return to the present to find that she had not only birthed children, but even her grandchildren were no longer the babies she’d remembered.
Now she lies in a black robe with Buddhist prayer beads around her neck. Beads she used to hold in her hands as she chanted. Back in the days when she was still strong and able. Back in the days when she could look into my eyes and tell me to study hard and be filial to my parents.
I hope souls regain the memories they’d lost. So that she could look down upon us with a smile, knowing now that her prayers had not been in vain. We are a bigger family than ever; with great-grandchildren she’d seen but never knew, all of us united in saying our final farewell.
I last held her hand seven days ago. Seven days later I held her ash. Pure white and powdery. Now she finally joins Ah Gong in afterlife. Goodbye, Ah Ma. We all miss you.