Eulogy for Grandma from her grandchildren

Saturday, March 31, 2018

My beloved maternal grandmother, Mdm Chew Siew Hong, fondly known as Ah Ma by all her grandchildren, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, 28 Mar 2018. I delivered my first eulogy on behalf of her grandchildren. The eulogies of Cousins Grace and Kenneth are also included here as a keepsake for my extended family.

As read yesterday at her funeral service yesterday (Friday, 30 Mar 2018) ...

I have been blessed to know Ah Ma for 41 years of my life. As my first caregiver when my parents were working in Singapore, she took care of all my daily needs (for about 3 years). I always admire her for the inner strength she possessed, evidently seen in how she dealt with her life challenges.

I fondly remember that whenever we went back to her house at Taman Sentosa in Melaka, I would ask to sleep in her bedroom. She loved singing and we often sang Chinese Christian songs till late. She would always share stories of her life too. Little does she know that many of her stories inspire me and give me strength 'til today.

My Chinese name was given by my grandparents. Ah Ma shared the significance of the name once, and I didn’t think much about it back then. Ah Ma, I hope I have lived up to the name you gave me.

For this eulogy, I reached out to my cousins and asked them how Ah Ma has impacted their lives. Their responses paint a beautiful portrait of the grandmother we all knew and loved. I will highlight some and share with all of you.

[1] Strong faith in God

Ah Ma was a faithful believer of God. The deep trust she had in God has touched the hearts of many of her grandchildren. Some of us have heard this story from her - there was once, Ah Ma was at a loss because she was short of money to pay for the university fees of an uncle. (Two other uncles needed financial help at the same time.) She turned to God and prayed fervently. After the prayer, a gust of wind blew the pages of the Bible in front of her and she saw a verse that comforted her. With that, she placed her faith in the providence of God and managed to get around the problem she faced.

[2] Love for the family and church

As the matriarch of the family, she availed herself to take care of the needs of her children and grandchildren. One of my fondest memories of celebrating Chinese New Year in Melaka was seeing the big feast that she would painstakingly prepare, with the help of her daughters and daughters-in-law.

One of my cousins recounted his experience of being disciplined by Ah Ma. He was told to sleep alone in the adjacent room for being rebellious. It was a horrible experience for a 5-year-old kid but he learnt his lesson. That was our Ah Ma - she played multiple roles to us - a caring grandmother, a cook, a discipline mistress and many more.

Ah Ma actively served in many congregations, giving her time and energy, bringing joy to many. When I was young and used to follow her to the Christ Church at Melaka, I often saw her talking and smiling to many people. It was as if she knew everyone there.

Through her life, Ah Ma planted the seed of God’s words in us and showed us how to be a humble servant of God’s family.

After her stroke, although she was not the Ah Ma who was once full of energy, singing whenever and wherever, she still showed her love for us through her smiles when we visited.

Tomorrow we will bid our last farewells to Ah Ma. We know this is just a temporary goodbye and we will meet again someday. The legacy she lives behind will continue to live through each of us - her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I am proud to be a part of this closely-knitted extended family. This wouldn’t have been possible if not for Ah Ma and Ah Gong’s way of bringing up their children.

Ah Ma, thank you for all the small and big things you have shown through your life on earth.

Eulogy from cousin Grace:

Ah Ma, as I fondly recall, is a woman who loves God and puts her family ahead of herself.

For as long as I can remember, Ah Ma was a woman who spent on and pampered her loved ones and scrimped and saved on herself. Though they weren't from a well-to-do family, Ah Ma and Ah Gong raised 9 children while living very frugal lifestyles. When I was much younger, my cousins and I would call each other on Saturday nights to find out if they were free to visit our grandparents and we would congregate to play at Ah Ma's house. The highlight of the visit to Ah Ma's house (besides playing with my cousins) was getting gifts from Ah Ma. She would always have a collection of toys and knick-knacks for us to choose from whenever we visited her, which was her way of showing her love for us. By God's grace, our grandparents' home was always filled with laughter and us grandchildren running around.

Ah Ma was also a devoted Christian who spent at least 5-6 days a week in church, except on Mondays when she used to do housework and run errands. She delighted in worshipping God and had many close friends in church. After her stroke in 2010, she could no longer recognise her family members but continued to have much delight and joy in her eyes when she went to church to worship God.

Thank you, Ah Ma, for the many life lessons that I have learnt, and for your love all these years. You have led a long and fruitful life, finished the race, and have kept the faith and are now with our Heavenly Father. How apt it is this Good Friday, that we no longer mourn the death of Jesus Christ and our grandmother, but rejoice in His resurrection. May you rest in peace and see you again!

Eulogy from cousin Kenneth:

Our Grandma led a simple life, one that was hard and often times unsweetened. But what we as her grandchildren will remember her for is throughout her life of raising her children, she made our lives much more fruitful than her own. We now live our lives that are filled with complexities, but are surrounded by family and friends that love us, are relatively well-to-do, educated, and even made names for ourselves.

We believe our grandma lived the simple life, but one that is honourable, difficult, yet the most fulfilling way to live as seen by the fruits of her labour.

In the 92 years of her life she has lived, she has gathered knowledge and wisdom, lived through hardship and joy, and got to live a life that is what we believe God wants to do in this life, loving our God and the people around us.

We can only imagine how much we can glean from her life story, however, due to her fading memory and personality in the final years of her life. Although her life before that may have been more meaningful to her, we got to see her as she truly is, and through her final acts, she is a shining example of how we can live ours even when we are living in a complex world and are afflicted with the toils of life.

Firstly: She was very cheerful. We loved how she would try her very best to sing hymns of praise to the Lord, and the big smiles on her face that she had. As the Bible said, “A cheerful heart has a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15). She lived the best moments of her life by being real as children of God.

She showed us the gift of the love of Christ: Even though her personality may have faded, her love for God remained. Her worship was vibrant and cheerful, and her faith was unwavering.

With these gifts she had given us in the late years of her life, and by how she had opened so many paths for us to choose how we can lead our lives, we always have her memory as a beacon, never to be overwhelmed by the hardships of life as she had done. 

If your outllook in life is greyed by the struggles of life, remember this: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.—Psalm 23:1–4

We will always remember the love she had for us, and we must continue to show love to each other and those around us:  “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”—John 15:12–13

Last but not least, she has shown us that throughout our lives, God is with us: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.—Romans 8:28
1926 - 2018
Ah Ma's body was cremated on Saturday, 31 March 2018. She is richly blessed by God with 6 sons, 3 daughters, 5 daughters-in-law, 2 sons-in-law, 18 grandchildren, 9 grandchildren-in-law and 14 great-grandchildren. 

(Missing her dearly as I write this.)

19 December 1998. 50th wedding anniversary celebration of grandparents with their 18 grandchildren

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