Posts Tagged ‘Jacob Cream Crakers’

Feeling exhausted after spending the whole day sprucing up Dad’s house in Ipoh for the coming Chinese New Year, I took a warm bath and slept soundly on the night of December 22nd. It rained the whole day, so it was cold and wet outside.

Hours later,  a loud cough from downstairs woke me up from my sleep. For a few seconds, I thought I was dreaming but I could easily recognise that voice. It was my Dad’s. He often cough loudly to rid himself of phlegm. And when he cough, the sound was so loud it would fill the whole house.

Then it came again. Soon another one followed; altogether, there were five coughs; each louder than the previous one. 

My heart beats faster. I nervously reached out for the little alarm clock on the side table. It was 4:12 a.m. on the morning of December 23rd.

As I sank my head onto the pillow again and pull the blanket over my head, I heard another sound. This time it came from the tin box where we used to keep biscuits. Someone was opening the lid of the tin box and then closed it back firmly. Dad always used to do that. He loved to eat cream crackers after taking his medication. This was to reduce the bitter taste on his tongue.

I think Dad was back in the house that morning. He was doing the things he would normally do – coughing and eating biscuits, while everyone was still asleep upstairs.

Moments later, I heard footsteps mounting the staircase that led to the bedrooms. I could hear the clinking sound of keys.

My palms began to sweat. The sound paused at the doorstep. Then it was total silence. Nothing happened anymore after this.

After what seemed like an eternity, the sky finally brighten up a bit. I got up since I could not sleep again. As I looked out from the window, I could see a smiling moon in the eastern sky. It’s crescent resembled a smiling lip. I stood there to watch it until it disappeared into the horizon.

“Mommy, I heard Grandpa’s coughing early this morning. He coughed loudly a few times, just like when he was still around,” Nicholas disclosed to me excitedly as he came down from his bedroom.

I was downstairs, brushing my teeth. “Yes, I heard it too. I thought I do not want to frighten you by not saying anything but it seemed that you were also awoken by his coughing,” I replied calmly.

“I also heard someone opened and closed the tin box where Grandpa kept his biscuits,” Nicholas continued. “Then I woke up Alexandra. We could hear the sound of keys, like he was closing the door before he goes to sleep each night, ” he said. 

The thing is, Dad was no longer in this world; yet that morning both my children and I heard those sounds again and very clearly too. They were familiar sounds to us.

The next day, which was Christmas eve, we went to Paradise Memorial Park in nearby Tanjung Rambutan. We went straight to my parent’s niche.

Opening the metal door that revealed their urns, I said jokingly, “Dad, did you come back last night? We heard you coughing several times, then someone opened the tin box and the clinking of keys, it was you, wasn’t it?”

Hardly had I finished speaking, a little brownish moth flew from nowhere and adhered itself to the glass panel. It stayed there for about half an hour. When we told Dad and Mom that we are leaving, the little moth smacked Nicholas’s head before taking off swiftly into the air.

I could feel his presence; it was so overwhelming that I broke down and sobbed. I still missed my Dad a lot.

That night I paid a visit to my third aunt. She was Dad’s youngest sister and his only surviving sibling from the same mother. She looked like Dad, her features, her voice and her mannerism. When I saw her, it was like seeing my Dad again. Just like her elder brother, third aunt loved me and we were closed.

I told her what we heard the night before and the little moth we saw at his niche the next morning.

“That must be your Dad coming home! Do you know that departed souls appeared to us as insects like moths, butterflies and grasshoppers?” she said.

Yes, Grandma and Mom used to tell me about this too.

“Well, at least the older generation like me still believed in this,  maybe he knew you are back, so he dropped by to see you and the children,” she laughed.

I loved to think he came back to see us that morning, and have some crackers too….

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