My grandmother, Virginia Kaw Kim Golangco died last May 21st, 2010. She was 98.
The above is normally followed by a string of cliches in connection to going at a more than ripe old age of 98. But i'll spare you that and just refer you to Dianne Reeves' signature ballad, "Better Days."
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i myself have always had this crazy-ass fascination about supposedly dying while the going is relatively good. Call it a pseudo James Dean fetish, if you will. Given my obsession with leaving a supposed legacy before i go to the supposedly great beyond, i get jack nicholson repeatedly sneering in my poor windblown head: "what if this is as good as it gets?"
But the ironic thing about life, is that one cannot quit while one is supposedly ahead. Once one quits (e.g. suicide, anyone...?), the very act of "quitting" negates whatever "ahead-ness" one may think one has. Besides, how "ahead" do we really think we ought to get anyways? When is it really enough? And if one's life was such a bed of roses, why on earth should one quit? Then giving it up would somehow indicate that how good it supposedly is is a lie, right?
But i have an excuse for that.
There are moments where everything seems just intricately perfect in every way that counts to me, that i want to freeze that moment and let it be my last memory.
It's fanciful to think how one can possibly supposedly quit at the supposed "top of his game," but we'll just fall back into that discussion about one's definition of "ahead-ness." Or would one prefer that like Ah-Mah, after a long and fruitful day's work, one fades into the night quietly, helplessly, and somewhat too tired to feel anything anymore? Again quite possibly, the last memory you will leave those around you is that you have lived well, and everyone wishes you well in your afterlife. And people will be both sad, and possibly almost thankful that the bell at Round 12 has already rung for you.
And should you not like it, you'd be too tired, not to mention too dead, to notice anyways.
Or maybe people will be thankful that you cared for yourself enough to make sure that people will be beyond too much hurt by the time you go. Just like a parent would want no less for her children. In that respect, then Ah-Mah has given everyone the love only a mother could give, up to her very last moment.
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Between looking around the wake at the relatives, acquaintances and "who-the-hells" coming in and out, and thinking "everyone goes sooner or later," i look at their passing faces and wonder what supposed legacy THEY would leave when their time comes.
Some were doing really well, but then things went down. Some have built companies that are beginning to flourish (will things get better or worse, who knows?), some seem to just be drifting along. But one thing for sure was that legacy or no legacy, everyone was going, sooner or later.
I always wonder if and when the time comes, if i would have already done enough on this earth. And sometimes, my greatest wish is to be there at my own wake when the time comes, listening invisibly to everything they say about me. But then again... maybe not.
'catch you later...