Mum turned 87 on Monday. No fanfare. No celebrations. We just had simple lunch at Lenas in Bugis Junction. She and I shared a set. Her Picky had a set all to herself.
On Sunday, there was the usual family lunch with hongbaos to her from the usual suspects. H and C bought tarts from Baker & Cook at Hillcrest Road as I suggested. They also gave mum hongbaos despite my saying “no need”. Guess it’s the usual Asian reaction to suggestions of “no need” 😆
What a diiference a year has made. Last year, a week be4 mum’s birthday I was able to give her a pre-birthday treat at ION’s Paradise — just the two of us. She was able to hobble on her own two legs with the help of a folded golf-stool.
This year, no such luck. When we go out, she needs a wheelchair, for her sake as well as for mine, since many a stranger had gone so far as to suggest to me that I shouldn’t make my mother suffer. “Get her a wheelchair,” they said!
I might still be dithering if not for the fact that events took the decision out of my hands. Mum took a bad tumble at home on Oct 2 last year that led to her hospitalisation at Tan Tock Seng Hospital for one night for observation. Apres that, although she suffered no more than bad bruises, I didn’t want to take any more chances.
We got her a wheelchair for outdoor use and another for indoor use, although most times the latter isn’t used at all, as mum still manages to move around at home with the help of a frame-walker.
Now contrast my mum’s latest birthday with what another octogenarian whom I know. Auntie GY celebrated her 84 on March 3 at her lovely home off Swiss Club Road.
I got to know Auntie GY thru a mutual friend and this is the second time I have been included in her birthday bash, the first being two years ago when we went in a group to Sarawak.
The difference lies in the fact that one birthday girl is still full of joy of life whereas my mum while still enjoying her food has lost much of her ability to engage with others. And that ability is what makes living vibrant — unless one has always been a hermit or a recluse 🙄
Although there were about 40 of us, we couldn’t even manage half of what was available, supplied by Glory of East Coast Road… because there was still the dessert of birthday cake, cakes I mean, as there were two!