Granny is hospitalized again. When many of us visit her together, we can't wake her up. There seems to be a fascinating dream world out there. Well, to put it realistically, it's because Granny's health condition is worsening day after day. Mom shouts into her one ear that can still hear and gives her a quiz on who's who. Though she looks so sleepy, she still manages to get our names right. Meanwhile, Granny's maid Meili lists the abilities that Granny has lost over the past few days. The atmosphere in the ward is so gloomy that tears roll down my cousins' face like a downpour of rain.
No, shouldn't we rejoice? As my tears are about to be kidnapped by a burst of sad feeling, a voice protests. Granny is already ninety years old. It is sad but normal that her organs are not functioning. However, compared with other families, we are blessed because Granny never knows that she has cancer. God bestows one of the best gifts on her--ignorance. So every time when she is hospitalized, Granny thinks about nothing except wanting to go home as soon as possible so that she can play mahjong with her children. We are spared the torture of having to cope with the emotional ups and downs of the patient.
Granny has aged at a gradual pace in the past year, so we have the chance to be more or less prepared. In the ward, my cousin fondles Granny's gray hair, trying to put her to sleep. She is surrounded by us as we watch her fall asleep quietly. Then I suddenly have a different idea about death than before. Death can be light and calm. It's actually putting people we love to sleep while they embark on a wonderful trip in a brand-new world.
Granny opens her eyes when my cousin feels her pulse. She thanks him gently: Thank you doctor. Thank you for not dismissing me because of my old age. That is Granny's charm. Perhaps she really believes the doctor is visiting her, or perhaps she is just joking. Her sense of humor dispels the heaviness of illness and death, making the ward a warm place. She laughs too, and when she does that, I see glows in her beautiful eyes. My cousin can't help replying: You don't despise me because I am young either! My dad goes on to tease Granny: Would you like to play mahjong? Unlike the past, she answers: No, health is more important than anything now.
Granny wanders between the reality and the dream world on and off. She whisks her hand telling us to go home for some sleep though it's actually the middle of the day. We still remain immobile, looking at her wake up, fall asleep, wake up again, and fall asleep again. It occurs to me that she is my Little Sleeping Beauty. Whether she is awake or asleep, both are fine.
Every day Granny is still with us, it's our luck. If she really has to go, I will feel more than sadness. I will feel more happiness than sadness for she has taught me death can be quite joyful and beautiful.