“It is not necessary to argue over something so insignificant,
our journey together is so short.”
by Lai Jia En
Amazing Grace by Aaron Fong, THG Alumnus on violin and guitar
“Why did you buy these crackers? We are on a raw food diet, and you
know that well!” Mum yells.
“Joy likes them. Can’t I buy food for my grandchild to eat? She is so thin!
You should give her nutritious food!” My grandmother shouts back angrily. I
cower in the corner of my bedroom as the shouts echo in the kitchen. Their
argument grows more heated by the moment. Grandma and Mum are fighting
again. They fight almost every day, as they don’t see eye to eye on many
“Grandma, are you sad?” I ask. My grandmother sits on her bed, staring at
the wall. She is shaking with sobs, and tears are flowing down her cheeks.
“Don’t worry Joy, I’m fine,” Grandma replies softly.
Walking to mum and dad’s room, I see Mum sitting at her table, staring out
“Mum, are you alright?”
“Please leave me alone.” My mother requests firmly. “I would like to be on
my own for awhile.”
I run out of her room, back to Grandma’s room. She smiles gently at me,
and quickly slips me a biscuit. “Eat it darling.” She murmurs quietly.
Grandma is mum’s mother. She is still very alert and mobile despite being
close to 80. Last year, she moved in with us after her heart operation. This
year, my mother started my family on a raw food diet. But Grandma refused,
and insisted on cooking food for me, this makes Mum mad.
I understand that Grandma loves me very much, and she wants me to be
healthy and strong. However, sometimes, I don’t understand why Grandma
has to interfere with what Mum does. After all, Mum is trying her best to give
my family a healthy diet.
I feel sorry for Mum too. She has to do many things in order to take care of
us – our health, our finances, and my schooling. On top of that, she has to deal
with my grandmother who often does not share the same opinion in some
things. I feel so hurt when Mum and Grandma argue. They are the two people
whom I love the most. I am so broken-hearted, sad and helpless when they
disagree and get so angry with each other. It breaks my heart to see them
fight and not reconcile. I am so overwhelmed with sadness, and I am so
disappointed with myself for not being able to reconcile them. I want them to
stop arguing. I wish that they can be as loving as they were when I was
young. How they would talk, laugh, and go out together, and most of all, just
enjoy being around one another. I wish there’s something that I can do. I also
can’t understand why my mother named me Joy. My life is so sad, so full of
fighting, where is that joy?
A day after that last quarrel, they have another argument. This one starts
when Grandma is preparing fried rice for me. Mum comes home and asks
her why she is frying the rice. Mum explains to Grandma that eating cooked
food might make me vomit as I have not been eating cooked food for a long
time. I have no idea why, but Grandma got so angry and hurt that she yells at
my mother in a way that I have never heard before. “ Who do you think you
are? I have brought you up so well all these years, and you are well and
healthy. Joy is so scrawny and ill-fed! You don’t even feed her well! I am only
trying to feed her with good food…” Suddenly, Grandma’s face turns pale, and
she slumps onto the floor, her hand clutching at her heart.
“Joy! Call the ambulance! Quickly!” my mother cries out desperately.
Racing to the phone, I dial 995.
Soon the ambulance arrives. I watch helplessly as the paramedics perform
CPR on Grandma and whisk her to the hospital. Mum and I follow close
“I am Doctor Tan, the heart specialist. Madam Choo has had a heart
attack.” He remarks gravely. “Her valves are deteriorating.” “Does she have a
chance to live?” Mum asks anxiously. “Fifty-fifty,” He replies.
Stepping into the ICU, the smell of sterilized equipment is too much to bear.
The place is cold and uninviting. The equipment to monitor her heartbeat
emits faint beeps. Doctors and nurses hover around Grandma’s bed, trying to
hook her to the life-sustaining instruments. Lying motionless on her bed, she
is a far cry from the usual Grandma that I know. “Doctor! Her pressure is
dropping!” My thoughts are jolted by an emergency call. The doctor rushes to
the bedside. Mum stands aside. Her face is expressionless. Moving closer to
Grandma, we hold each other’s hands, praying silently. The doctor straightens
up and mutters grimly, “We are losing her.” The staff spring into action to
resuscitate her but to no avail. We know that Grandma is losing the fight.
Mum and I hold each other tightly. We stand solemnly beside the bed.
“Grandma, please don’t go…” I pray silently. As I gaze upon Grandma’s
face, there seems to be a happy glow on her face, as if she is reassuring me
that she is going to a better place.
What follows is a flurry of events as we make preparations for Grandma’s
wake and funeral. Friends and relatives come to bid their final farewells
amidst the tears and reminisce of the past with my beloved grandma. I can
hardly wait for everything to be over so that I can be alone. I just want to be
quiet, and be able to take in the fact that my grandma, the Grandma I love so
much, is gone. I just want to think about all that has just taken place.
“Mum, what are you looking at?” Running her fingers over an old tattered
photo of Grandma and herself, Mum whispers, “I know that Grandma is in a
better place, there will be no more pain and tears there. I really miss her. I
wish I could have spent more time with her.
I nod. Cherish your loved ones while they are still around. I really do not
want to argue and fight over minor issues with my mother. I love my family
members very much, and I want to live in a family that is filled with love,
peace, and harmony. I want to be the one who will create a family that is
brimming and overflowing with love. At first, I could not understand why I had
been named Joy. Now I do know. I am the one who needs to bring joy to my
family when I show them God’s love.
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.