We were in Singapore this past X'Mas weekend, and while it was yet another nice, short break, it was made all the more meaningful for me as I got to see family members I've not seen in ages. My cousin Bernie who lives in Australia with hubby John and their kids David and Patrick, had contacted me sometime back to say they were coming back to Singapore this holiday season, so I just had to do whatever it took to see them.
Also living with Bernie is my aunt Doreen, my late mom's elder sister. FAVOURITE elder sister, I should add. They were really close. In fact, we were close with the whole family, Bernie's sister Vicky included. I had very happy memories with all of them in Singapore.
Their house was like my own second home. My late mom and I would always make the trip down south during every holiday and stayed with aunty Doreen and family for days. I would meet up with my other cousins there and there would always be something to do.
Aunty Doreen was always there for us. She's kind, funny and love her close family members immensely. I can't recall when was the last time I saw her, but through my emails with Bernie, I got to know that she now has Alzheimer's and needs a lot of tending to. Her short term memory is almost gone too.
And so before meeting up, Bernie told me that there might be a chance that she wouldn't remember me. I was fine with that actually, I was just excited to see everyone.
The whole family came by the hotel where we were staying so we could have lunch together. When I came up to aunty Doreen, everyone asked her: "Do you remember who this is?". And she said: "Joey Boy". I felt like tearing up. I was just happy to see her, and knowing that she remembers me made it even more special.
We all then had lunch at this place at Liang Court. I remarked that Bernie and Vicky still look like the way they did 20 years ago. : ) And I had a good conversation with Bernie's hubby, John. They actually live on a farm in Sydney and it was a blast listening to all their animal stories.
David and Patrick didn't speak much though, but I know from the bits and pieces of info that they're big on rugby (of course!) and are very "rajin" boys who help out around the farm as well as taking care of aunt Doreen.
The lunch lasted less than two hours, but it was one of the best days ever for me. It brought back all those childhood memories of mine and wifey remarked about how warm and loving they are. Aunt Doreen took a while to finish her food, but one thing she didn't lose was her sense of humour. She even made jokes in Malay!
The sad moment was at the end when she asked me about my mom and dad. When told that they had passed on, she was taken aback and I could see she was holding back tears. Cos even though she knew this, but due to her condition, the emotion she felt was like her hearing the news for the very first time.
Still, it was a day to remember for me. I just hope it won't take another decade or so to see everyone again...