“My grandma taught me to be respectful to my elders and to be appreciative of them,” Melody Chew reminisces.
At just 13, Melody demonstrates maturity and wisdom far beyond her years. The young girl was her late grandmother’s caregiver for more than two years before the latter passed on last July. Stricken with cancer, Melody’s grandmother, the late Ang Guat Eng, experienced severe fluid retention, especially in her stomach.
Tubes and blood might scare most kids, but not Melody, who valiantly took on the task of tubal drainage for her grandmother.
Grandma, a patient of HCA Hospice , needed drainage on a daily basis, a task Melody bravely took on. “My parents were working and my grandfather was getting on in age, so I helped to take care of my grandmother,” she shares.
The sight of blood and wounds sometimes evokes reactions of fear and disgust, and it was no exception for Melody. “I was scared of blood, but there was no one else at home so I overcame my fear to change the tubes and clean wounds,” she shares. “It was painful for my grandma so I assured her that it would be over quickly.”
“I was struck by how brave such a young girl could be,” says HCA Senior Nurse Manager, Goh Sock Cheng, who was grandma’s primary care nurse.
It is said that the seeds of compassion are planted in childhood, and it is evident that they have already begun to bloom for Melody. “I am thinking of becoming a nurse when I grow up,” she says with a smile. “My grandma’s nurses taught me many different skills to help me care for her.”
“She really wants to volunteer, to help people,” Melody’s mother, Evangelyn, shares with pride.
Compassion is illuminated through the lenses of action. For the reserved youth, it shows in the attention to detail she devotes to every task and act. “My grandma was very weak, so I helped her to the toilet and also bought healthy lunches for her,” Melody says.
Melody with her grandmother at the hospital.
Subsequently, grandma had to be admitted to the hospital because of fluid retention in her legs. Melody faithfully visited her every day without fail, taking the bus to the hospital on her own.
Memories bring comfort and joy – and sometimes that is all we have left when our loved ones depart the world. For Melody, the close-knit bond she shared with her grandmother has given her a treasure trove of memories.
“My grandmother would bring me to Tiong Bahru Plaza and Chinatown during the weekends and she often bought me clothes and shoes too,” Melody shares fondly.
“She was a very kind and friendly person,” Melody says. “She liked taking me to the market to have breakfast with her friends.”
The values Melody’s grandmother had imparted have left an indelible impact on her. “She taught me to be respectful to my elders and to appreciate them,” she says. “I think it would be good if everyone could spend more time with their parents and grandparents and to show them more care and concern.”
It is the same love and consideration Melody shows her grandfather, who is still coming to terms with the loss of his wife. To alleviate his grief and loneliness, she visits him every weekend. “I hope to bring grandpa out to different places,” she shares.
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