Amah is losing consciousness by the day, slowly slipping away, that sometimes, she barely even recognizes the person visiting her. Not that she's on life support or anything, but by the looks of it (from the numerous back and forth trip from home to the hospital) her condition is undoubtedly deteriorating. Even as I'm typing here, she's resting in the hospital bed. She hasn't been eating well and most of the time, she's sleeping with the occasional strange utterance of matters which are unrelated or acting up like a child, so as mom says. Of course, I only get news of amah's behaviour from (as I mentioned before) the hushed conversations between adults which usually ends with words like "be prepared". That was also if I was eavesdropping - intentionally or not. In matters as such the adults still remain as adults, doing their best to protect us from the harsh realities of life, and of course, coupled with one or two popular beliefs.
In the Asian culture, these things are better left handled by the adults and as far as a child's responsibility is concerned, it only stretches as far as hopsital visits. We children pretty much remain in the household, just waiting for crucial news while we laze around like zombies with the news of an impending death of a family member hanging over our shoulders to harbour around. Although, jie and I do try our best to keep the atmosphere as light as possible with activities that can take our minds off things. Think Channel E! on the regular, with a few movies thrown in and catching up on a few episodes of TV series to help us steer our minds away. Sometimes, I even resort to excessive cleaning (of the house) to keep my mind fresh. I mean, it's the only few ways to keep me away from staring at the telephone for hours and jumping at every ring, all the time embracing myself for the news to come from the other end of the telephone. At this point, every phone call is such a source of intolerable fear, able to stop me dead in my tracks. I can get quite paranoid when the situation calls for it. You'll never know!
Other than that, jie and I will usually joke about death, as a general subject. It does help in facing the true fact, I guess. For the past week, we've even come up with calling amah the "grand old lady" awaiting for the right time to make her exit out of this world. After all, from our mental calculations and judging from the deaths trailing up the family tree, since our
Furthermore, the death plague is around. The death plague was created by me, something I've given a name to when the number of wakes arises in town and when funeral homes are filled to the brink. It's weird, really. From my observations, it comes and goes like a season. One moment, funeral homes and undertaking companies seemed to be almost out of business and another moment, boom, there's not enough space to even hold wakes anymore. It's also obvious with the rise in the amount of wake which can be seen held at homes, extending to the roadside as we take a drive downtown. I've seen the death plague quite a number of times while growing up in town up till today. Observations are clear from the to and fro journey from home to the hospital. Even one of jie's distant friend passed away recently in a car accident, whose wake she attended yesterday, accompanied by me. And yes, the funeral homes were all occupied.
Well, with everything being said, I don't think December will ever be the same this year (or the years to come for that matter). Things are certainly looking more gloomy than I've ever remembered. Initially, I thought the exams were going to dampen the mood of December but I've been proven wrong. Amah is currently, as described by aunts, like a ticking time-bomb, getting everybody on the edge of their seats with its ticking. It may explode tomorrow, or the day after, or even tonight itself, only God knows. It's a painful process, but I'm certainly looking forward to God's graces to help me pull through this episode. Until it happens, jie and I are still going to keep asking, "Has the grand old lady made her grand exit yet?" Not that we are hoping, but it's strictly aimed at sugarcoating the reality. At least it helps, for me. Who knows what blow this impending death might bring.
Odd though, jie is still positive that it's not amah's time yet, constantly arguing that she can still hold on. Wonder what makes her says that.