Goodbye, Grandma…

Fatmawati Santosa
3 min readAug 23, 2022
Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash

You are no longer with us. There is still some hope in me that we could spend more time together.

Sorry, grandma, I chose to live far away to pursue my dream. You know how much I love to learn this stuff, right?
When we lived together, you woke up at 2 o’clock in the morning to go to the toilet, and I was still studying and working on my homework. The next day you asked if I was tired. I said, no, it is fun to study this stuff.

You used to be so strict and cold. One day I fell sick and stayed in bed. You woke me up and brought me a big mug filled with hot water and a Chinese herbal thing — I don’t know what it’s called. You told me to drink it.

When I told you that I would study abroad, you asked why. I said the tuition fee is cheaper than in the country. You asked how much it is. You would like to pay for it.

Every Chinese new year, you started the preparation two weeks beforehand. I remember you put the dried sea cucumber in a big bowl and let it sink underwater. From a size of an index finger, it has gotten as big as a neck pillow. You cleaned it daily with a small toothbrush and changed the water for two weeks. It is still one of my favorite food.

You kept things clean at home — no stuff lying around without a dedicated container. Every time we went to the store, you would buy a new plastic container. So many plastics you left here.

You took care of your skin. That’s the other important thing I learned from you. You applied face cream every morning and night before bed.

One similar thing we have: really thin eyebrows, almost bald. I think it is genetic. Therefore we always have to color our eyebrows with a pencil.

When I was a kid, I felt scared when you were angry. Your voice was so loud. Now that I recall it, I hope I could ask you, what bothered you.

I would like to know more about your younger self, how it felt to live throughout the colonialization, the independence, the reformation, and facing the modern world. You had lived through all events I learned from the history book at school.

I believe my father and uncles were and are a handful. How did you raise five sons, I wonder.

I would like to ask if you felt lonely when grandpa left us. It had been fifteen years you lived without him.

Although there are so many unspoken words, your life and your love will live forever within us here. You watch us from above — we are still continuing our journey.

This sadness won’t leave me completely, grandma. I will always miss you. I still miss grandpa and uncles to this day too. I hold this belief, though: you have met them in that beautiful place — the place I choose to believe that one day we all will go.

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Fatmawati Santosa

sharing thoughts, experience, and lessons learned | an engineer on working days and a dreamer for most of the time :)