“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.