Her eyes were closed, as if almost in pain. When she opened her eyes, she could only do so partially for her left eye. I saw her, and she saw me. But does she even know who I am anymore?
She looked at me, and I looked at her. That gaze lasted roughly just 5 seconds, and she closed her eyes again. I touched her bony arms, devoid of muscle due to lack of exercise and activity. It was cold and frail. I tried to hold back my tears.
Her hair was short now, and white. I last remembered her healthy self, sitting in her room with my mom preparing Ang Paos for Chinese New Year. Then, she could sit, stand, walk, and fill those red packets with gifts of money. Now, she can only lay on her bed. She lost so much weight. Her thighs were half the size of mine. Her arms, unimaginable. She could not speak, could not smile. It was as if frustrated, she can only close her eyes. Once again, I tried to hold it back.
It was time for dinner. And the nurses had to wheel her out for her meal. Porridge and two other dishes, mashed to puree form for easy eating. I couldn’t even make it out what they were, just that one was yellowish and the other brownish. They mixed some of each together, and with a syringe in one hand, began to fill it up. Thereafter, they put it to her mouth, and fed her through the syringe. My heart cringed.
She was so weak she could barely eat. But yet, I could see her resisting. She refused to open her mouth. We decided it was better to feed her with a spoon, the idea of the syringe, unbearable. Mom slowly coaxed her, trying to feed her. In the end, after several failed attempts, she began to take her food. Slowly she ate, patiently we fed. An hour passed. She barely finished one quarter of the level of the porridge when she arrived. And it was on a plate.
Sparing the details, it was time to go back to her bed. She is wheeled back, and brought to lie in her same position from before. There, her mouth kept moving. We thought she must still be hungry, given the little amount she actually ate. However, she resisted the sweets we tried to give her. Then it dawned on me, that maybe, she wanted to tell something to us. But no sound came out. No sound will ever come out. We make assumptions as to what she is thinking or trying to show or do. Then, she stopped, and closed her eyes again. Closed her eyes, like in pain, remorse, despair, and helplessness.
This person is Mom’s grandma, my grandma.
She has been brought to stay in a care centre because the maid has left for home.
I don’t even know her exact age, all I know is it’s around 65 plus 70.
She got diagnosed with dementia, and suffered a stroke on her left arm before.
The idea of helplessness.
Throughout, I could do nothing. My heart feels like it’s bursting. I wish she was here with me right now, but she’s a thousand miles away. So many things I wanna say, but no voice can come out. I thought I finally figured out what to do in life. I think I might have to rethink about it. I’m just as helpless. It was like these 2 women, one a meter away from me, another a thousand miles away, were fading in front of me, and there was nothing I could do about it.