Some weeks back, my mum, my auntie and I visited my grandparents at both the Choa Chu Kang Columbarium as well as the Mandai Columbarium. Gone were the days where we had to trek through hundreds of graves to find my Ah Ma and Ah Gong in the blazing hot sun while carrying bags of food offerings and other essential prayer offerings. Their remains were relocated to the columbariums a few years ago and since then, the rituals have now become a lot simpler and faster. This left us plenty of time to rest and chit chat a bit before we pack up for the next destination.
At the Mandai Columbarium, I decided to talk a closer look at my grandparent’s “neighbours” while my mum and auntie rest and catch up on news about their other siblings. Over the years as folks grew more affluent, the style of the memorial plaques have become fancier. There are still the typical looking black and white photographs but I also saw the rising trend of using really nice wedding photos of the couple instead of 2 individual photos. *note to self, find nice wedding photo to use on my memorial plaque*
At that moment, something caught my attention and I walked towards a relatively new niche. There was a piece of paper pasted on one side of it and on the paper was a face drawn by a child. Why I say that was because the picture was similar to the many Xan would draw for us at home and when he was at school. I can only assumed it was a picture drawn by a child for his/her daddy. Then I turned around and saw another doodle on another niche presumably from a grandchild to his/her beloved grandfather. I couldn’t look any further because I could feel myself about to burst into tears thinking about the children who had lost their loved ones so soon and them sending their love through their little works of art. I recomposed myself and joined my mum and auntie for a bit before I drove them home.
Since we had a little bit of time to spare before we pick Xan up from school, The Husband and I decided to have a cup of coffee and chat a bit about my morning at the columbariums. The conversation started fine until I went on to describe and compare the doodles to the ones Xan draws from time to time. I started to cry uncontrollably and The Husband at first shocked also teared up. He had to get up and give me a firm hug just to calm me down.
I started to think if I were to kick the bucket now, would Xan leave me lovely doodles like this? Will he miss me? Will he still remember me when he grows up and have his own family? Will I even know he missed me or not? He’s not even 5 yet so will these 5 years of memory be enough for him to remember his mummy forever? Have we created enough memories with him for him? Don’t get me started on thinking about losing any one of my family members. I really don’t want to think about it for now.
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