(This should be posted on July 7th, but… :))
July 7th is the commemoration of my grandfather’s death. He died in 1995 when he was 65 and I was 5, so I only have some vague memories about him. One thing I remember about him is he liked roti keju telur (bread with cheese and salted egg yolk) which we could buy at a local bakery in Makassar.
Roti keju telur: we can still find these at a local bakery in Makassar 🙂
I don’t exactly know why, but I also like roti keju telur. Perhaps it’s because it is tasty indeed. Perhaps it’s because roti keju telur is one of Opa’s (my grandfather—we called him ‘Opa’, meaning ‘grandfather’ in Dutch) favorite food. Sometimes, I eat roti keju telur whenever I miss Opa, simply for the sake of the memories of him. Perhaps, I am still angry because he left us too soon—not that I’m angry with him or I blame fate or life, it’s just that I’m angry because he’s gone before I had the chance to know him better.
As usual, on this July 7th, we had a kind of family gathering, in which we held a traditional Chinese praying for Opa. There is always laughter whenever we talk about Opa—and there are always some tears as well. But as the time goes by and the years add up, the laughter becomes more and the tears become less. There are just sweet memories about the time he was still alive, not because he was a perfect man, but because the sweet memories are the ones that remain the most after Opa died.
One of my aunts told us about how she was the last person who saw Opa alive. She was there when the doctors and nurses performed a CPR on Opa; she held his hands and sent prayers while Opa was struggling between life and death. He died anyway. However, I am glad to know that in his last time, Opa was not alone. He had a family member who stayed by his side until the very last time of his life. He did not die alone, and I am very grateful for it.
I am an agnostic regarding afterlife, but I hope that there is some form of ‘afterlife’—not necessarily heaven and hell, maybe just a simple concept of atoms or molecules—so that I know that Opa is still there, somewhere, in a form I cannot comprehend, and I do hope that he is proud of us and what we—his family—have become.