I often wonder if my obsessive reading of The Little Match Girl during my childhood had resulted in an ingrained fear of losing my grandmother. After reading it, I always feel like the world is such a sad place. Not only that, i would analyse the story from different versions and languages (English and Mandarin) in hope for a different ending.
When i was 5, whenever my grandma took a nap or was sleeping, i would creep up and place my finger under her nose to check if she was breathing. Often, i woke her up and sometimes, i would get a smack on my hand or back. But oh, the love for my grandma was so strong, the fear of losing her drove me nuts. I would cry everyday when she brought me to take the schoolbus to kindy because the separation anxiety was so intense.
Our love for each other is so deep and connected that once, we both felt uneasy at the same time…when i was living with her. True enough, a crisis happened shortly after. I’d like to think that it is our connectedness that allowed me to feel her anxiety and worries. Thankfully, we have overcome the worst.
My grandma will turn 85 on 16 September this year. There is nothing i want more than for her to be healthy and mobile. She has just returned from a trip to Hokkaido and watching her recount her enjoyment of eating copious amount of seafood and sashimi made me insanely happy.
Like the little match girl, I draw on my love for my grandma to get by. I secretly pray everyday that she lives beyond a 100 years old (and be healthy and well, of course!) because her mother (my great-grandma) lived to 101 years old. Yes, longevity may be in her genes.