So.. this one is going to be a bit more personal. It has taken some time for me to pen my thoughts down, gather these photographs and reflect on my time back home this year.
Back in May this year - my grandmother went home to be with the Lord.
I had planned to fly back home to Singapore to spend some time with her, and unfortunately did not make it in time. I recall while transiting in Hong Kong.. as soon as I was connected to WiFi, I was flooded with messages from family and friends that she had passed. I was also in the middle of customs while trying to reply everyone, and getting through the customs process seemed like the most daunting thing at the time. I knew once I passed through that.. I could finally breathe and let my emotions run. Once I landed in Singapore, everything felt like a blur and before I knew it, it was time to say our final goodbyes.
Her celebration of life was beautiful. It's funny how these things end up becoming some sort of family reunion. I like to think that she brought everyone together to bond, share life and be each other's pillars of support during a time that's supposed to be a time of sadness. Perhaps that was her gift to us. I also got to meet relatives that I've never seen, one being an uncle of mine that shares the same love of photography. (Hi Uncle Val!) And that's where all these photos came from! I was overjoyed (and slightly too excited) when I got a copy of these precious photos that allowed me a peek into the past.
From first hand stories, conversations and my childhood with my grandma, I remember her to be this joyful, bright and genuine spirit. A woman of faith. She had such an infectious, joyous presence about her, and it was evident in the memories and legacy she left behind. I didn't know her too well growing up, as I spent the later half of my childhood in Vancouver. But the time spent with her were always happy times. I recall on one of the trips home, she even joined my cousins and I for karaoke! Those were some great memories.
My cousin Sharon has also written a beautiful and heartwarming post about her that I think really captured the best of her. Part two here.
On this trip home, I also got to learn quite a bit about my family's history and my grandfather. I've never met him as my grandma was left a widow at the age of 46. But what I did learn about him -- brought so much light to this trip. For one, he was also an avid photographer! (Guess that's where my love for it comes from? Along with my cousins Rebekah & Rachel) And then there were these photos that gave me a glimpse into his past. Some of which, were taken by him!
I took my time with this post. I just felt like I had so much to say, but didn't know where to begin. And I think there's a reason for that. The time I spent going through these endless photographs and thinking about the stories behind them, made me appreciate and connect with them so much more. Every photo is a puzzle piece. And when you put them together, a story of the family is created.
I'm heading back home early next year, and while going through these photos.. it inspired this idea to document our family in my grandparents' home for the last time. A place that was home to many new year celebrations, family reunions and gatherings for the past 52 years. A place that holds many stories and so much love.
When you lose someone, you don’t lose them all at once; you lose them in pieces over a long time. And that's why I'm so grateful I have the gift of these stories, photographs and memories to look back on. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Until next time!