"No, no, no. It's all about her nails."

Written By bryanboy

“No, no, no. It’s all about her nails.”

Thank you so much to everyone who sent in their condolences and well-wishes. Your wonderful messages of support provide me with comfort during this rough time. Please accept my sincere apologies if I’m not able to reply to them individually.

photo credit: vogue italia august 2008

For some strange reason, the look on my mom’s face when she went to my room last night is still in my head. The last time I saw her in that state was about a decade ago when my other grandmother (her mom) died.

Click click click!

She opened my door, cordless phone and her cellphone in tow, walked to me and touched my shoulder. She didn’t say anything at first; I looked at her and when I saw the tears on her face, I knew she got THAT call.

I hugged her very briefly and then she told that me my grandma’s gone.

She was, in fact, very calm about it.

The waterworks kicked in when she left the room.

I followed her of course, and naturally, everyone’s in a panic.

But my mom, always the one in charge, told us to calm down so I went back to my room.

I felt like crying right then and there but I couldn’t. Trust me, I tried. All I got a heavy feeling in my chest and that’s about it.

It’s interesting because this isn’t the first time it happened. I’ve had several family members die over the years and I haven’t shed a single tear for them. True facts.

Meanwhile, I know I’ve cried over pettiest and silliest situations.

Heck, I even cried for Mr. Denmark on the plane when I left Beijing two months ago, remember?

Anyway, I digress.

M grandma’s been living on borrowed time so her death didn’t come as a shock to me. I’d be lying to you if I said her death was unexpected.

I know what I’m about to say is totally inappropriate but I’m somehow relieved that her suffering ended sooner rather than later.

Ten minutes after I heard the news, my sister told me to join them for dinner.

Family meals (as in me, all my siblings AND my parents together around the table at the same time) are fast becoming rare as we get older because everyone is doing their own thing/busy/etc.

We were planning to have a nice joyous meal last night… it was my dad’s birthday.

Dinner was alright. Everyone was sad because my grandma passed away.

Our conversations revolved around my grandmother of course and the first question I asked my mother was “WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO WITH HER HAIR?

You see, my grandmother’s biggest vice is hair dye and nail polish.

It’s true when people say we ALL have vices. Some people are drug users, some are heavy alcoholics and there are some, who, like me, chain-smoke cancer sticks day in and day out.

In lola Amanda’s case, it’s her hair and her nails.

She couldn’t stand the sight of her having gray hair and she’s very meticulous when it comes to her nails so she had people coming to her house week after week to take care of them.

I know this cause I visited her on New Year’s Day (like we ALWAYS do)
and there she was, not a single gray hair in sight and her nails were
glossy and painted. It was probably the last time I had a proper,
proper conversation with her.

I guess she gave up her vice when she became totally bed-ridden, which was back in late January. She began deteriorating after I got back from Beijing.

Moving on…

So yeah, my mom told me that she’ll keep her hair as it is and there’s no time left to colour her hair. It’s her nails that she was more concerned about.

I pointed out that we all know she can’t stand gray hair.

No, no, no. It’s all about her nails.” was the reply I got.

Well that and “I hate what they did to her nails, the colour is so inappropriate.

Apparently when I was gone traveling, my mom and my grandma had a chat about plans, etc. My mom asked for lola’s last wishes and yeah, she wanted to depart with nice nails.

To cut my story short, both my parents spent the night at the funeral home and slept at my grandma’s house while I stayed at home thinking about the state of things. They’re back now though, trying to get some rest.

I guess my grandmother’s death finally hit me when I woke up this morning.

I called my mom as soon as I got up and she said everything is fine.

Then she said something like the funeral home people fixed her mouth (as in closed it) because she died with her mouth open.

That’s when I finally cried because it meant she died in pain.

I don’t think I’ll EVER forgive myself for not visiting her as much (I saw her a few times but it wasn’t ENOUGH) between New Year’s Day until her birthday the other day. The thought that she didn’t have a peaceful death is something that would haunt me for a long time.

I know I’ve been super busy with work the past year and I’m not gonna lie, there have been times when

a) I was lazy and

b) I’ve made excuses here and there not to see her because I was so scared to see her in pain.

And now she’s gone forever, well…. I don’t know.

It’s late in the afternoon here and I still haven’t visited her. I’m gonna do that later tonight.


  1. Bryan. It’s so sad when loved ones pass away, and I’m sorry you have this sadness. But you are probably right in saying it was better that she didn’t go on suffering for a longer time. While she may well have been in pain leading up to her death, please don’t think that her moment of death was painful because her mouth was open. Often people die with their mouth open as their body relaxes into death, and their jaw realxes too – allowing their mouth to fall open naturally. She may well have been most at peace near her death, calm, with no pain, and you know she is at peace now.

  2. I’m sorry for your loss Bryan, and wish you and your family all the best. I agree with Jac – the fact that she had her mouth open doesn’t mean she was in pain.
    Don’t make yourself feel too guilty either – we all have our ways of dealing with pain. The pain of seeing a loved one hurting and suffering for example.

  3. I feel so sick to my stomach about this. I sympathize with you whole-heartedly. You have to grieve, Bryan in your own way. Take some time away from this blog. We’ll be here when you are ready to come back. I promise.

  4. Aaahh BB. We all make mistakes. You might feel terrible about not visiting her as much as you think you should have, but give yourself space and forgive yourself. She knew you love(d) her and that’s really all that matters.

  5. loves you

    Oh Sweetie Pie. Don’t be hard on yourself. It’s natural that you would feel sadness after her death so don’t turn it all on yourself. I’m sure that with her concern about hair and nails she was proud to have a grandson as beautiful, charming, and stylish as you.
    Sending positive energies.

  6. ~”To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”~
    — Thomas Campbell, Scottish poet (1777-1844)
    I was sent this quote when I lost one of my best friends a couple of years ago.

  7. Bryan,
    I think I know the feeling. sort of!!
    I lost my grandma about 12 years ago. She is the person that I love most. She took care of me, raised me up, she feed me, bought me shoes and jeans, she loves me. And you know what.. not even ONCE I say I love her.
    Maybe that is the way I treat people. Well..sometimes it is hard to say LOVE to person that we really care until he or she gone. Now I know I love her to death.
    Until now I still can smell her hair tonic, her favourite perfum, everything about her.
    After she die, I kind like ‘relieved’ because everytime she sicks, I keep thinking what will happened to me once she gone. She is gone, I’ve been thru it. It is not easy, but life must go on.
    I hope I can turn back time, meet her, tell her that I love her.
    Until now, I dream of her. She keeps appearing in my dreams. Not complicated dreams, only dreams of me and her doing normal stuff like going shopping, picnic, talking and eating.
    It is been like 12 years, and she keeps appearing in my dream. I know I love her just I dont have a chance to say I love her.
    Be tough Bryan.. I know you can do it.
    p/s: I must stop before I cry!!..

  8. About the same period my grandpa died, my neighbour died too. My grandpa lives in the other side of the country, I saw him rarely although I was really fond of him. My neighbour, I saw everyday. She was the mother of my best friend, and I cried my eyes out at her funeral. With my grandpa, I didn’t shed a single tear. I felt so guilty, like some evil being that doesn’t even cry on my own grandpa’s funeral, although I was only twelve. I really didn’t want to see my family, all crying and being sad. To my relief, those where some pretty good days, reminding me of the beautifull Christmases we had together.
    My grandma (not the wife of the grandpa mensioned above) was, like I said in the other blog about your grandmother, really sick. But I intendly didn’t visit her. I went one time with my parents, and I still have a trauma from it. All those old sick people coughing and even one screaming. I decided for myself that I would never want to see my grandma like that, but like the sweet, loving person she was when she wasn’t sick. It made it less painfull after not seeing her a couple months when she passed away.
    Sorry my comment is kinda long, but what you write is so recognizable for me.
    I made a poem, wich I read on my grandpa’s funeral. It rhimes in Dutch… but I didn’t want to change it much, it’s what a twelve year old girl felt on that particular moment. Sorry again for my much too long comment, you can skip the rest if you want.
    If all people where candles,
    You would be the birghtest, brighter than anyone else,
    You would think, you won’t be lit now,
    but there is no smoke.
    If all people where toughts,
    you would be the prettiest, I want you to know this,
    you’re still here, a memory,
    one I’ll never forget.
    If all people where pages,
    you would be a book,
    you’re not away, just in another shelf,
    You’re gone but not missing.
    But people aren’t those things
    No candels, thoughts, nor pages, but humans,
    I don’t want much, just you to be here with me,
    That is at this moment my only wish.
    *sigh* I just remember how nervous I was reading this. Most people I didn’t know, it was pretty scary…

  9. Its okat to say “her suffering ended sooner rather than later.” we wouldn’t want to see the people we love in pain :)
    it can be quite hard when people who touched our lives passes away. its how the world goes-and sooner or later we just really have to give in-that everyone dies in the end.
    we love and care for you Bryan!
    we’re quite sure you’ll go through this phase easily-you’re so effing FIERCE for crying out loud!
    i guess its a lesson for everyone around here that we should let those people we love feel how much we love them before its too late. :)
    much hugs and kisses to you!
    p.s. live your life to the fullest,don’t forget that we only live once <3

  10. You’re going to be OK. :)
    Life celebrated is life not meant to be mourned, but recalled in love.

  11. tamaki

    Rest In Peace to your grandmother. I know it’s not original, but I hope she really does, and I’m sure she will.

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