On the day before her funeral, my cousins and I decided to each write a letter to Grandmother and paste it on the wall next to her casket.
A letter from Cousin Mun Yoong and his wife, along with 2 year old Adrian. Adrian is Grandma's eldest great-grandson.
I'm not your smartest nor your most obedient grandson, not even the most handsome. Yet in my heart you are the most important to me. I will always remember every Sunday when you bring me to the Pasar (market) for grocery shopping, or coming out to defend me whenever dad was about to spank me, just to prevent me from the pain. Each of these memories felt just like yesterday, and they will remain within the vault of my memories forever. My love and respect for you will not diminish at all as I will keep you within my heart. I wish that once you are in Nirvana, you can see us, your children and grandchildren, and continue smiling.
From Mun Yoong
I love you. Great-grandma.
Although we have only spent a few short years together, your passing had filled me with a lot of sorrow. As I recited my prayers for you, I believe you have followed the great Buddha to Nirvana, accepting his wisdom and his teachings, bathed in the light of his blessing. Free from the coils of mortality and the painful cycle of life. To know that you are in good hands allow us a lot of comfort, I will always remember your smile.
From Vivian (wife of Mun Yoong)
Letters from Cousin Mun Kin and his wife, and Cousin Carmen.
There is nothing more painful than losing a family member. The love you have given me, every single drop of it, I will pass it to the following generations.
From Mun Kin and Wife (Chriz)
Amitabha. I believe you are now at Nirvana, watching us with a smile. What you have left us are countless valuable memories and happiness. You will always be my role model.
Letters from Cousins Foo Keong, Pui Kuan and Foo Seng.
Since Foo Keong and Foo Seng both wrote in English, I'll translate Pui Kuan's part only.
To me you were like a magician, conjuring endless joy, surprises and tears for us all. And also taught me invaluable lessons of life. I will always remember this.
From Pui Kuan
From Cousins Jun Xiong and Jun Qi.
I believe you are on your journey to Nirvana.
All my life, you were my only grandmother I knew. My impressions of your loving concern are deep. Right now, I find it difficult to let you go.
This tiny paper isn't enough to contain everything I want to say to you, you will always live in my heart.
From Jun Xiong
The memories that are spinning before me now aren't that many, but each of them is precious. I will always remember you. I love you, rest in peace.
From Jun Qi
Letters from Cousins Sheng Jie, Sheng Fei and Wen Xin.
To my beloved grandma,
Please go on your journey without any worries. We will take care of ourselves. Just put aside your doubts. You will always live in our hearts. Safe journey.
From Sheng Jie
To my beloved grandma,
What you have left for us are beautiful memories. Memories burnt deeply into my mind. Safe journey.
From Sheng Fei
To my beloved grandma,
Your kind smile will always leave a print within my heart. Grandma, I will always miss you, safe journey.
From Wen Xin
Letters from Cousins Lip Pin, Yang, Tseng Qhi and Jade.
Letters from Cousins Fung Ming and Hing Yip.
(Cousin Fung Ming's letter is a poem of sorts)
Your passing had filled our hearts with pain,
Memories shared together forever I retain,
Loving you, thinking of you, missing you.
From Fung Ming
Your passing had caused my heart to struggle with agony. I am sad because you have left us. But happy that you are liberated too. I will bury your joyous smile within my heart. I wish, in our next lives, I can still be your grandchild.
From Hing Yip
From Cousins Kian Tat and Kian Lap (we usually call these two brothers Kampolo and Nganpolo, which means "Golden Pineapple" and "Silver Pineapple"
Kian Tat's one is a traditional Chinese poem, it's difficult for me to translate. I'll try.
Grandmother and Grandchild now walk opposite directions,
Be it in the sky or on mortal land I still love you,
Watching the moon brings me tears,
But as you return home in 3 nights, our hearts remain as one.
From Kian Tat
I love you. Have a safe journey.
From Kian Lap
A letter from Cousin Raymond.
A letter from my house helper, Susan. Susan had been with us for almost 20 years, so she's like part of family, and naturally, my grandmother was family to her as well.
And finally, one particular letter I wanted to single out was Ani's. Ani is an Indonesian girl who had been taking care of my grandmother in the last 3 years of her life. As her Alzheimer's had gotten progressively worse, Ani remained by her side without fail. I have nothing but gratitude towards what Ani had done for my grandmother. Even in my grandmother's last few days, Ani had slept in the hospital too to accompany her.
This is a letter by Ani, written in Indonesian and then translated to Chinese.
SAFE JOURNEY, POPOH
I hope you are now standing beside the Lord and being blessed. I will always remember you no matter what. I love you, popoh, I love you. Whenever I miss you, I will think of the times when we are together in this house. I remember your smile.
Finally, letters from my sister and I.
My translation of my sister's letter and mine:
All is beyond words.
Don't forget the friends and family who had loved you, because we won't forget you at all. Safe journey.
On the day of her funeral, before we went to the crematorium with Grandma. Cousin Carmen and Ani burned those letters, hoping that these words will go with Grandma as well.