Cover photo

【story】 we no longer 'miss', but just 'evolve' after 4 years and 8 months since you left the physical world.

we have this tradition of sweeping the tomb, or getting to worship the ashes of the ones who left us annually called Qing Ming which I missed for like 5 to 6 years away from the city and when I joined again, I miss Grandma a lot even after 4 years and 8 months of her being away from the physical world.

all about my Grandma, specifically the best paternal Grandma, a.k.a. Ah Mǎ, a.k.a. Chin Lan Yin 陈兰英 on Earth.

now playing 'soon you'll get better' by Taylor Swift.
we've talked about Grandma a lot.
but, we haven't dived deeper into the specific details yet, have we?

We have this tradition of sweeping the tomb, or, I shall say, cleaning up around the place the 'vase of ashes' had been placed while sharing about what's up with us. We do that annually. The ones of Chinese ethnicity called it Qing Ming. It's in April but we usually plan it on the other day to avoid doing it with a huge crowd. That's a thing that I've missed for like 5 to 6 years while I'm being away from the city for my Degree. After graduating and all that, I joined again this year. Looking at her picture on the altar next to Grandpa's, I miss Grandma a lot even after 4 years and 8 months of her being away from the physical world. That cover picture of this blog was in another blog of her another previous story.

This one would be different as we're in it.
I mean, I'm in it.
Well, actually, we are in it.

Let's start with an art piece?

her giving her thumbs up saying 'good-good' every time we part just because I said 'goodbyes' are too sad. Along with a 'time passport' that comes with a book about people parting with each other at different stages in life carrying certain meaning from within the process, until they don't.

[I wish I ɦù99ēđ you longer] art

The last hug before I went to another city. I was like, come on, it's still so near. But, ya, I didn't know that it would be the last hug. I didn't feel her definition of being 'far'... Until I do. She was in her shirt with vertical red stripes. Looking very healthy, still. Very beautiful, still. Getting older didn't keep her away from her activities in life. My Chinese middle name can't be typed but she managed to get the character on a stamp, huh? And, she said that she hoped that she'll get to see me wear the 'four-pointed hat', lol, it's the (graduation hat). I did it last year with her earrings. Does it count? And, the last time we chatted, she said that she'd like to have the ability to go anywhere and do things freely without disturbing the others, like huh? I only get it by now?

Who said time would wash away memories? I'd like to pull that person out 'cause it's just not true? Ok, maybe yes, for the other things in life that are labelled as unimportant. Well, but all her details haunt me down from time to time and I couldn't ignore them 'cause she treated me with lve. It's great to feel so though, to remember who I've always wanted to be. It's one of my life anchors now. And, I'm glad to have gone through phases reviewing myself and understanding the emotions of going through this journey too. Implemented into my projects, directly or indirectly.

a story we posted on the day we saw the 08-01 spot where her ash is placed, along with a Chinese poem for her, indicating that she isn't here but still here.

The last time I said I'd bring her to eat the whole steamed fish at our hometown and only that town has it, she's so happy that she told all my uncles and aunts back home. And, we didn't get to... When I rushed back, she was already bedridden. It's just... not something I've opened up about for years because it's emotionally challenging. It still does, but I know I've healed so much from the great sessions, experiences & exploration I give myself as well as the wonderful people and things around me. Probably one of the reasons why people around me find it so difficult to really know me? But hasn't it always been so? Oh, dear child-self, you sure were, but it became more difficult afterwards? The worst part was that you didn't know. Just, please, dear future self, please. it's okay now. Haha, well, for real, I mean, I'm okay now and each emotion just seems precious to me. Thanks with love. These three paragraphs become the caption for our arts. But, we have more in the mind, as always.

okay, ready for the last conversation?

it's originally in mandarin but we just translate it into English and the feelings that I've gotten, okay?
it's not like 100% the same, but sort of like, similar, and having memorable parts, okay?
some parts are even imaginary.
you'll know which is which by nature if you feel it by the heart.
okay, with love, while we still remember all this.

Ah Mǎ:
Be very careful with everything you do and everywhere you go, my dear pearl of the heart!

ya, right, but there are risks worth taking.

Ah Mǎ:
Risks? Don't risk. Look at that shampoo you helped me pick! It's a bottle of hair conditioner that I have to give your Mum.

sorry, Ah Ma, well, next time I'll double check on it.
(yes, as we all know, there's no next time in this life.)

Ah Mǎ:
I'm not blaming you, just telling you that we can be more careful with what we are usually careless about. Be careful on ten thousands of things. Listen to your parents.

*said nothing thinking
'no, we're never good at listening to our parents although we try to find the balance in between our opinions, lifestyles and all. That's the main reason of me exploring almost everywhere but not really at home too, I guess.'

Ah Ma, how about you tell me what do you want? I'll get you as a token of appreciation, you know, then we get over the case where I messed up the bottle. Plus, I'll be earning money! I mean more money, although money hasn't always been the main priority but love is.

Ah Mǎ:
I hope to see you wear the 'four-pointed hat'.
I hope to drink the tea during your wedding ceremony.
I hope to be your 'listening ear', always.

well, that's a bit far away. I'm not even quite sure if I could pass the nearest test to get biomedical engineering (by the way, I did). It's just getting way more difficult than I think for now.
I don't know if I could really just create technologies for medical being so dumb.
It took me forever to understand one freaking theory or equation! I don't like proving them because I only like creating things. I don't like maintaining them, although I have to.
(btw, I did, and I still do).

Ah Mǎ:
Then, just change another field?

Oh, no no! I mean, no.
I still love it, like really, really love it. I wouldn't be complaining much anymore.

*after a while, I don't know how I switched the topic back to this

Let's think of something that I could do for you the next time we meet.
With enough money to bring you to eat the whole steamed fish? You like that?

Ah Mǎ:
Oh, whole steamed fish? I don't eat rare fish.

Yes, I know, it's not sushi.
It's this restaurant that I saw that's only here in Puchong, you know?
The last time when I had a chance to be a part-time assistant tutor, the managers brought us there!

Ah Mǎ:
Wow, must be very expensive, then?

Kind of, but they paid for us because we got a big work done that day!
And, don't worry about the price. I can pay for it, you know?

Ah Mǎ:
Really? How do you get the money?

Well, you know, doing my thing, I will show you what I do when they are complete.
(no, I never had such a chance)

Ah Mǎ:
Okay, I will wait.

Okay, my next holiday.
(I never should've waited, at all)

Ah Mǎ:
I'm so 欣慰 (these two words, I really can't find the right translation).
It basically means relieved, happy and glad at the same time.

Why? Because I can be independent? Or, I'm finally doing what I love?

Ah Mǎ:
You're finally all grown up.

Grown up as if I could do more things myself?

Ah Mǎ:
I mean:
All grown up in the way that you are just like me when I was young.

Huh? You like health tech?
I never heard you saying that.
(lol, ya, I was this 'dumb' back then but silly and memorable too)

*and then I suddenly got distracted, ya, that's my personality and divergent thinking style

Ah Mǎ, could I play these cards with you?

*picking flower scented cards unconsciously for what's portrayed in the subconscious mind

Wow, Grapefruit? You want a change? What change?

Ah Mǎ:
I would love to have the ability to go anywhere and do things freely w/o disturbing the others.

Ah Mǎ, it's not disturbing. How could you think of it? We love you the way we are right now.
You need to go anywhere and we can send you there. We can buy you those things if you need.
Is it about overseas?

Ah Mǎ:
No. I know you can drive me anywhere.
I'm afraid of planes anyway.
Your grandpa used to drive me everywhere in this Semenanjung Malaysia too.

We can solve that.
I know buses or ferries that could take you out of Semenanjung Malaysia too.

Ah Mǎ:
No, no, it's just not the same.

You miss Ah Gong.

Ah Mǎ:
But I also miss the times when I can do things without asking people's permissions.
I don't have to let people know.

Then, I can plan a mystery trip for you.
Like, nobody will know, but you have to be safe with robots or bodyguards, maybe?

Ah Mǎ:
I don't want all these expensive stuff.

I said I could afford, or, at least I would.
(okay, actually not really sure but I have to be sure about it by now too)

Ah Mǎ:
I just want to see you grow. I just want to be free again.

Okay. I will design that.

Ah Mǎ:
Design what?

Something makes you feel free. You want to be free, right?
But, at home, no ferries, no buses, no planes, right?
We can do that.

Ah Mǎ:
Aiya, you just do your thing.
I mean free in heart, not going anywhere.

I said nothing, but I thought.
I actually don't know how but we might be able to have that or buy something as such.
My thought went like, 'Okay, free in heart.
Feeling of freedom in heart.
I got it.'

after a while of preparation

Ah Mǎ! I have to go now!

Ah Mǎ:
*holding something, brushing her fake teeth, most probably
Okay, okay, everything - be careful - everything!


hugging tightly

I could feel her bones this time and I felt like she's really shortened as human bones do shorten when we grow older but I did not say a word about it


it's very vague and I only remembered that we were both in a rush on something

Ah Mǎ:
Haiii, must go so far away.

Far? I'm still in Malaysia!
Some friends aren't even studying here, and that's really far.
I'll be back soon, take care!

Ah Mǎ:
Be careful, really careful!

See you, okay, go brush your stuff.
(I never should've...)

she managed to come out behind the decorative ironwork on the door
they used to look beautiful when she stood there watching me get on the car,
while doing two great big thumbs up saying '100 marks and 1st place in studies and all'
but as I grew up and care lesser about those things (okay, not true, just balance more things),
those bars look a bit like a jail,
and I guess I started to understand the kind of freedom by heart that she's talking about.
It's not theoretical, metaphorical or hypothetical at all.
It's like, directly, straight-up

Ah Mǎ:
Be careful, really careful!


I will.
I will be very careful.
Like, really, very, extremely careful.

I will always love you.
Could we hug a little longer?
I wish we did.
I really wish so and I never really wished I hugged anybody longer at all.
At least not up to this point.
Don't tell Mum and Dad that. I love them too though.
I would be very careful, like on everything, you know, like you always say.
I would wash my bottles more often, take good care of Mum and Dad, listen to their voices before I give gentle and partial heartfelt sharing of mine in the most polite and most suitable ways possible.

I will strive to excel again, be your champion granddaughter at all times, and keeping my passionate dreams as always.
I will get into biomedical engineering. I will graduate with glory.
And if that's not enough, I will wear your cheongsam on international interviews and we don't even have to take planes, ferries or buses at all. No motion sickness.
I will wear your earrings to the important events although they blend in as my ear's colour in pictures. I actually hope that they look more obvious, but hey, I love this pair of earrings with heart shapes. I think I owe you a pair of earrings, maybe I could buy something else for you, if you need.

I will continue being a happy me.
I will remember me, as you always asked if I do.
This time, it's not just me but the whole world. I mean, part of the world for now.
I included your name in my thesis. Did I say 'included'? Oh ya, just imagine how great if everything had already happened and you saw it, right?
You definitely will see it. Every part of it.
And, the way I just got your lotus blooming in a metaverse, oh, come on, is that not freedom in the heart? Well, well, not entirely just for you since I also got many other reasons of creating as such but you could certainly be the main priority of that little lotus as a stress stimulus.

You know, I, erm, didn't read as much Chinese after that year, and you probably would love this book I bought about 'life is only about accompanying each other through a journey to another' kind of vibe, entirely in Chinese. How great is that, right? I even got into this debate thingy. Oh, you knew that before the year. Great. It's just that you didn't see how I ace things. Oh, ya, but it's probably not just about acing things because I care less about that, really.
They seem to be a by-product or an illusion.
My main priority is to get the love out.
Believing in the power of love as always.
But, not in the cringey way.
And, yes, all the things that we could ever dream of doing.
Actually, we have done those things.
We did, huh?
Just that meal of the whole fish.
Nah, we probably will meet again for it.
In another world? Another dimension?
Well, since energy can't be created or destroyed according to the first law of Thermodynamics, you're certainly another type of energy, huh?
Oh, Thermodynamics? It's like Physics. Physics, something like Science.
Science, something like Technology.
Like almost every tool or almost everything that happens just happens.

By the way, do you still remember when I was a little child, putting a toy stethoscope on your chest to check your heart? Okay, I have oximeters and other way more accurate devices for sure. I mean, doctors still do those checks, but I could show you my way of doing them.

You know, my drawings back then were so ugly,
but you always just ask me 'how', 'why' and 'for what' instead of judging me and doubting me like the rest of the others. It's just insanely great and I love it. Thank you for doing it all along.

Okay, maybe not ugly but of a different art style since even Pablo Picasso would try to get back to the way he used to draw when he was a child.
I might want to get my creativity and curiosity as a child too. In fact, I do keep them until now.

Ah Mǎ, I'm not crying anymore.
I'm all ready and all grown up like you said.
I let go of you slowly.
Your memories really started fading off after I jot them down, knowing that they're stored safely.
Whether they're as arts, words or images.

I also know very well that the brain has a limit of only storing the most important information we need, so I might need the ratio back. For times, I only express how much I've been missing you.
But, I feel that you're trying to tell me something different this time.

Be careful with everything probably includes memories.
I'll let go of what hurt me the most, what caused guilt, what caused hurt.
I'll treasure what caused love, what caused beauty, what caused evolution.
I'll treasure what causes love, what causes beauty, and the start of an evolution to be specific.

I don't miss you anymore,
because us, the beings can't ever have what we miss.
I treasure you. I'll bring your stories, glories and spiritual ideation along this journey.

All happening before I meet you again.
I have to make the rest of my years count, after all that we've gone through, right?
Let's do this together, with lots of love, sensitivity and carefulness.

Ah Mǎ:

We could never have what we miss,
and there's always a natural cycle of loss and gain in life.
So, I will let the details slip away after storing the ones I love for real this time.
I no longer miss you. I simply evolve into myself.
My time to explore freedom in my heart in my unique ways in the physical world while I still can.
I know, I love me so much too.

with love,

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