Saturday, May 03, 2008

Happy Birthday Granduncle

Nope, my granduncle does not read my blog! But he celebrated his birthday yesterday considering it's past midnite now. His birthday is on the 2 of May. Every year, our birthdays are just 2 days apart, but the age gap that we have is huge. While i just turned 28, granduncle turned 92 yesterday! So he's more then half a century older then me.
But what made granduncle's birthday so unique and special this year was coz no one shared my optimism that he would live to turn 92. He has been in the hospice since 4 April this year. And on my birthday, the doctors called to say he had fits and gave him 24 hrs to live. On Labour day, the whole family gathered at the hospice to see him and spend some time with him. But i was certain that he would not give up. And i was right! Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!
I spent a lot more time with granduncle when i was a kid. Less after i grew up. It was all pretty complicated. My grandmother is adopted. So granduncle is her brother through adoption. And through adoption, grandma had 5 siblings. There was only 1 that we were quite close to, auntie Margaret who passed away about 10 years ago. And that was when the whole family in Singapore stopped hanging out and spending time together. Auntie Margaret was a wonderful woman who always opened up her house for us to hang out at and for the kids to get together to play. Every year, i would look forward to visiting her on Chinese New Year as i get to see all my cousins and family from Singapore. But after she passed away, no one bothered to hold celebrations or get the family together any more. You could say she was the pillar that held the family together.
Then, when granduncle went to hospital, it was the first time that the whole family met up after Auntie Margaret passed away. And while granduncle struggled to live, he pulled everyone closer together! There were calls from cousins to aunties to uncles. Calls between brothers who never speak to each other. It's funny how this 1 man, who never ever got married, who never had children, managed to bring the whole family back together. Although it probably would have been better if everyone had gathered under different circumstances, there was no denying that the tumor in granduncle's head made everyone in the family realise that we've probably only got each other. And the petty fights that the older generation had and the grudges that have been kept for so long were all pointless when one was facing death in the face. And i suppose that's what being a family means =)
Time really flies. And it has only been a couple of months since granduncle was first admitted to the hospital. And today, when i saw him, he was not even awake enough for me to wish him Happy birthday personally. He was asleep the whole time i was there. I tried talking to him, but he never woke. Which is weird coz granduncle is the most chatty man i've known. And he has a great memory. But today, i saw him lying in bed, and realised just how much he has aged. And just how fast the tumor was eating him alive.
Granduncle probably won't last many more days as they have stopped feeding him. But i guess there is a silver lining to every cloud. And it was through this adversity that brought the whole family together again and started talking with each other.
Happy Birthday to you Granduncle! And thanks for drawing everyone back together =)

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