A Real Iron Lady -my Grand Matriarch Mother.
At 95, my beloved mother Low Kuoi Ying passed off peacefully in her sleep at 5.30am in the wee-morning of 3rd January 2012. My dear mother lived a fulfilled life of simplicity and we are a coheisive family of 9 siblings. My father died much younger in 1976 at the age of 65 years
My mom's years were real hardship years but happy. My dad was only a barber and they both 'single-handedly' brought all us up with my mom the housemaker. In those days, you hardly can find wives working. Looking after 9 children was no easy task. But mom always managed that well. Our lives were really poor but we were happy and we grew up among the 'lallangs' in the kampong. We had plenty of open free space to play around and run wild and free!
It was a wonder to reminisce those early years, how Mom can manager by herself all nine of us without a single help. Our meals were simple fare. But we were well-fed and never went hungry. Our age was like stepped ladder..only one or two years different from the next. And I have a pair of twin sisters (the sixth and seventh siblings).
Compared to then and now, there is really nothing now that can called our own, even we are living more comfortably. We cannot play marbles, fly kites anywhere. We had fruit trees like rambutan, guava and papaya growing wild for plucking. Space was never an issue. Happiness was the benchmark word though we were really poor.
We nine siblings grew up and father's load was lightened. Mom's life also changed for the better. Mom's never 'say die attitude' and sacrifice to bring us all up was a real effort and she never complained. And it was and is a blessing that she was naturally healthy. Mom ate simply and hardly saw a doctor. In fact when she was 89 years, we siblings gave a grand celebration during her birthday in the restaurant. And as far as we remember, that was the only time during her birthday we ate out of home.
The family's support and the many children surrounding Mom, was able to give her the warm and harmony of a big cohesive warm family. Today's family nucleus is a sad sight of one or two siblings!
Till her last day, on a head count, our family members including many great grand children was 60 members. And my Mom was particularly proud of my second sister who sacrificed her education years (those years poor families, girls would opt to help their mother's at home.) My Mom was proud and happy because my second sister's younger son (she had two only -stopped at two), was a police scholar and is currently now the Deputy Commissioner of Police at 39 years old. My nephew went on a scholarship to England and also attached to Scotland Yard during his study there.
Our Matriarch mother embraced Zen Buddhism since she was 80 years old (was Ancestor worshipper) and always listened to the chanting of the 'Zen suttas' and practised moderation in her life till her death on 3rd Jan 2012. She lived a full blessed life and stayed with my no.8th sister in a HDB flat. She loved simplicity and also practised non-extravagance.
.Mom's final sent-off at Kong Meng San on Saturday &th Jan 2012 was smooth and non-eventful, (not like VIPs who did it with grandeur.) We are all human of the world but many of us human are different.
On 31 Dec 2011, Saturday, the last day of the year 2011, Mom requested to see everyone of us at sister's home. She was not having good appetite. But love bird-nest. We all congregated to my 8th sister's home in Ang Mo Kio to see her. Mom's was alert and sharp and spoke to us..We had a maid to look after her. Without any ailment and never hospitalised, only wheel-crhair bound for the last 4 yeas because of her weak leg due to bone osteoporosis (maybe). Apart from that she had no other sickness. It was a real blessing !
As a meditation practitioner for many years, I sensed Mom's intention to see us all. I told my sister Jong subsequently to be more prepared. People her age, Mom knew how to prepare for her passing and in Buddhism, many of us would know our time if we had a deep devoted practice. And sure enough, on Tuesday morning at 5.30 am..when the maid wanted to wake her up for morning chant and breakfast, she did not wake up and slept her eternal slumber.
God is great. Amitabha Buddha! Nibbanam Paranam Sukkham!
Our grand old matriarch Mom lived a complete life of simple happiness of great 'riches' , not of monetary terms but of spiritual wellness and moderation. No greed, craving and adhere strictly to her simple half vegetarian meals.We all will miss and love our beloved Mom.
My final citation to the tremendous sacrifice of Mom :
"All of us 60 members are in one mind our matriarch mother will always be 'numero uno' - and no words can compensate (surely not great riches ) her great sacrifice for all of us."
Mom live a full life and in the final days of her living, she planned so well and passed off peacefully, having seen most of us. A perfect good blessed death in Buddhism terms.
And last but not least, to add in the famous verse from the Bible."'from dust we come, unto dust we go" and "in the valley of death she fear no evil." For Mom had lived a complete fulfilled simple happy life.
We all will miss her but we will feel her presence and protection moment to moment. We, siblings from great grand children salute our beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, (all in one).
Rest In Peace beloved Mom...Buddha is with you!