[ 14.02.2015 ]

Mom seldom call me because she was always afraid that I was busy. But when she called, her opening line was usually, “Am I disturbing you?” I asked Helen two days ago if I should delete her number from my phone book now that she is gone but she didn’t reply. In the past few days, I had imagined my caller ID showing ‘Mom’. It is going to take a while.

[ 14.02.2015 ]

Chwee Kueh was one of her favorite dishes during her hospitalization. Initially she could eat up to four but towards the end, she couldn’t even have 1/4.

[ 14.02.2015 ]

Most patients need the coaxing of physiotherapists to exercise but Mom was a self-starter. Every chance she got, she would flex herself.

[ 14.02.2015 ]

Her exercise could be as simple as just moving her hands forward and backward, but she didn’t stop until it was physically impossible.

[ 14.02.2015 ]

While resting, she would often daydream and occasionally hum her favorite tunes.

[ 14.02.2015 ]

There were specific instructions not to draw any blood or insert any trip to her left hand so her right was always bruised. This was where they fed her potassium, sodium chloride and later, morphine.

[ 14.02.2015 ]

The next day, I was scolded for taking her pictures but today, she wanted a nice one taken. Even with her mask, I could see her smile.

[ 14.02.2015 ]

She was always happy to go home.

[ 14.02.2015 ]

Mom alternated between this room, which she shared with Dad until his death in 1992, and the one used to be occupied by my second sister.

[ 14.02.2015 ]

Still on the topic of the one image each of us wants to be remembered for, Mom instructed a few weeks ago that this is the one for her. Unfortunately, this wasn’t taken by me. Although she had asked me many times to make that ‘official’ portrait of her, I always declined out of superstition. My standard line was, “No hurry lah, still got plenty of time.” The 2009 image was taken by Nuria Ling, a former student who was photographing Mom for a Straits Times story about her pumpkin cake recipe. When I told Nuria about this recently, she laughed and told me that Mom had told her then, “Please take nice nice, if good I want to use it for my … ” With the help of an old friend from ST, I managed to get the soft copy and will be working on giving her some eye brow when I am freer because Mom, in her excited state, had forgotten to draw the other side. As a fairly decent photographer, I should be angry that her chosen official portrait wasn’t made by me, but in reality, I am very cool about it because she really looks good here. Thanks Nuria, Thanks Stephanie.