As I am typing this, I really have no idea how he is in the hospital. Today is Fathers’ Day and we had already planned to have dinner as a family but a phone call changed everything and none of us has the mood to go anywhere. Came home in the afternoon only to be informed that my 三叔公was hospitalised for some abdominal related issues. My dad told me that he was conscious but had tubes all over him. But at 6.30pm or so, a phone call from my aunt came and we were told that the doctors were trying to save him. His heart had stopped beating. My parents rushed down to the hospital immediately but till now, I receive no news. I want to call but I am really afraid. I know they will not call back because in my current state, they did not want to worry me. BUT, I am very very worried.
I grow up without my paternal grandparents. My grandfather passed away when I was a baby and my grandmother passed away when my father was really young. My maternal grandmother was the closest grandparent I had. But when it comes to her, I just have regrets after regrets. I live till this day with these regrets haunting me every now and then. Other than her, 三叔公 and 三婶婆 are as good as my grandparents. I spent my childhood days at their place almost everyday, playing with my cousins. I know they really dote on us, having no grandchildren their own until much later. For some reason, kids being kids, we did not like to be teased by 三叔公 and always ‘complained’ about him. Neither did we like to be close to him as he smoked a lot.
But I remember fondly that he would always pick me up and put me on his lap and play rocking horse with me. I would pretend to put in 20 cents and then he would rock up and down. I also remember this blue coloured striped shorts (modernly known as boxers) and this mole on his thigh. BUT, the thing that really made an impression on me was his constant effort to lure me to go to the market with him. And he would always say, ‘来！你跟我去巴刹，我买mua chee给你吃！’ Oh well, sometimes, it worked, sometimes it did not. Nonetheless, because of him, mua chee has become one of my favourite local snacks and to me, mua chee means 三叔公.
As human beings, we move on. From childhood to adulthood to parenthood. Time is never enough and we really hardly have time for almost everything. From the almost daily visits to 叔公家when I was a kid to the weekly visit to 叔公家when we grow up and now to the once or twice a year visit to 叔公家 when I have my own family. I really wish that I had put in more effort even though he hardly recognises us these days.
I can only pray, wish and hope very very hard. He is really a dear ah gong to me…