Our final respects

I was exhausted to the core but sleep never came…for 4 days.

After learning that my grandfather passed away on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2010, DC and I frantically scrambled to return home to Malaysia. We got the first flight out off JFK on Friday, transited in Japan on Saturday, and finally reached KL on Sunday night. The rest of the family from Canada flew out late Saturday and arrived Monday.

After an emotionally draining day on Thursday, I crawled into bed in the wee hours of the morning hoping to catch some shut-eye before taking the flight out. Sandman never visited.

Thanks to the impending snowstorm on Friday, we headed out early to the airport. We then sat in the airport for 4 hours before boarding the plane. With time on our hands, we managed to get ourselves exit seats with extra leg room. That did not help. The flight into Japan was sleepless. We tried to lull ourselves into slumber, but it was impossible. We were fed, watered, and entertained. But rest eluded us. By the time we landed in Narita Airport, we were walking zombies.

We were shuttled to Hotel Nikko for the transit, and thought that this layover was a blessing in disguise. We would finally get our rest.

We showered and had dinner at 6, buying food from a convenient store aptly located in the hotel (instead of heading into Tokyo for a quick run in town). When 8 pm rolled around, our bodies just couldn’t handle it anymore. We crashed. I woke up 3 hours later and begin watching Japanese TV, which I couldn’t figure out when programming ended and advertisement started.

My grandfather, Kong-Kong, the patriarch of the Phoas, had been slowly withdrawing himself from the family. I last saw him in December 2009 when we returned to KL for my younger sister’s wedding, which he never attended. My younger sister has always been the apple of both my grandparents’ eyes. For him not to attend her wedding, must have devastated him. During DC’s recent visit home, just one month back, she saw an emaciated Kong-Kong. He, she said, had given up on living. And during their, what is now, final talk he told her that it truly saddened him that he never made it to both his grandchildren’s wedding (both mine and my younger sister’s). He just didn’t want to “spoil the evening” for anyone. He was, ever so effectively, withdrawing himself away from his family. Even worse, was his lost of teeth. He refused food and eventually water, until he fell Christmas Day.
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