I haven’t been able to pen this.
after about 4days, i finally sat down with my thoughts, and sort of got into it.
We all live life thinking that everything is permanent.
So it seems as if we have not aged. It seems as if our parents our dear ones will b with us, forever.
that isn’t true.
and it takes just one to drive this message home.
“IT” can come so easily.
We were in HK holidaying and qinzhi says must call popo. And we did, the next day. Only to find out that Ah Kiat or as the children would address, Ah Kiat 舅舅has suffered a stroke, and its in the brain.
Till now, i couldn’t picture what happened.
And there was this struggle in me, to try n picture, and the next moment, don’t want to think about it.
Its denial i guess, or trying very hard to accept .
On the very night we left for HK, Ah Kiat hia( brother) whom i have known all my life, came home from work and felt very wrong. He asked boon n dandelyn to drive him to the hospital and was diagnosed with a blood clot in his brain, Surgery was needed immediately to get the clot out and he was in coma ever since.
its been half a week already.
and he hasn’t been awake.
and this news came after siong, the eldest had to start kidney dialysis.
When i heard the news, it felt v distant. as if its another story in a drama, from somewhere else. it felt as if he wasn’t close. it felt as if there was a gap, it felt distant, really.
i couldn’t feel much.
i react as i haved, calm n composed.
but this is all too familiar.
then i recalled, how last sunday when i was at pasir ris, i didn’t address him n it felt weird to me. i went into the house n called everyone, but not him. it was only after daddy came fr work and called him then i realised i hadn’t addressed him. i felt awkward but tried to make up when he asked why haohao was crying.
i thought of this incident immediately and ho the heart could feel things amiss.
we should all believe in our intuition. and say out how we feel.
because we might not have another chance.
and as with life, it doesn’t always gives u chances.
things about ah kiat hia slowly hit me—-how did he feel when he came fr work n wasn’t well, how did everyone in the family react?
i heard ah mei went to the hospital and cried, i heard her say boon and seng cried. and how mama went to see kiat n he cried on seeing ma, then he slipped into a coma.
hui said things aren’t optimistic.
for said everyone took turns to go see him at his bedside.
in hk, i went to a temple and prayed.
should i tell zhi?
maybe not, its too intense for a kid.
gor said just last week, he asked zhi if she still remembered the carebear he bought for her? as a staff of DFS, he would be given vouchers if he showed good performance, and in turn, he used the voucher to buy her a super big carebear. then the carebear was bigger than zhi, but now, zhi has outgrown it,
he loved hao a lot too and would call him pong pong.
i asked hao this morning on our walk, where is ah kiat 舅舅？
and he says，在医院。
why i asked？因为他生病吗。
i remember when i was with them during confinement. and he would show care n concern for me, when i went to the toilet at night, little things like,” be careful, the floor is slippery…”
when hao was sick n we were renovating our kitchen, i went to pasir ris n camped in the living room, when i dozed off, it was he who came out of the room and told me to b careful.
back at home, zhi seemed to know something, but didn’t ask. we finally got round to the topic when she asked if she was going to pasir ris on fri next wk.
i said its a difficult time for all and we should give them time to manage. she agreed understandingly.
hao said popo cried on the phone talking.
i dreaded coming back in a way, because i didn’t know what lies ahead. i didn’t know what to say to the folks, i didn’t know how to take it.
but coming back got me in touch with the harsh reality.
impermanence is very very real and can hit any time. most when we least expect it.
i still can’t believe life has changed in one stroke.
like scenes out of a drama.
it broke the bubble of fake reality we lived in all this while and served to bring us out into the real true world.
like what the rinpoches always say, like in buddhist teachings.
what has happened in that gap of time before that stroke of fate?
can we do anything in that gap that has no time passing thru it?
it can happen so so so so so easily, and lives just change , they have to. a family is broken n hearts are shattered. peace thwarted.
life will never be the same again.
and it drives home what is important. suddenly, all the holding ons were futile, dreams, feelings, plans. whatever i held on to,
the family stood out.
i find myself tired n my breathing heavy. its hard to digest , all this. i dare not think.
then as i was watching the trees swing in the wind, there in that moment, i arrived somehow.
that this is life, birth n death, its a cycle. and a fact.
take all the attachments n emotions away. and u could c it as part of nature. natural.
and i hear a little smile in my heart.
then i asked hao, 妈妈不要做工好吗？
it was sweet.
because all else was bitter, this tasted sweet.
on the bed, i told the kids to sing a prayer and dedicate love whenever they thought of kiat.
i really believe that would help him.
i pray for u, ah kiat hia.
u have to wake up.
we are all waiting. the kids are, your family. you have to.
it is 16th may,
kiat suffered another stroke yesterday, after having said to register some response. it seemed things were looking up, but he had fever n blood pressure shot up.
then everyone left for the hospital, crying.
i tried to keep cool.
but it was hard.
regret was consuming me when i thought of that day, when i didn’t address him. i thought to myself, don’t do it next time.
and now, i m hurting with so much regret.
if only i called him, ah kiat hia, like i used to, like i have, for all of my life.
i picked up bits of memories in my head, like how he would pop into the room to check on the little ones when we stayed over, how he would call hao, pong pong a, pong pong a, drl drl drl drl drl, how he bought zhi the care bear, and the last i saw of him when he was well.
i was having dinner, and hao was crying, he tried to help by bringing hao to play with him, so i could have my dinner.
how could life change so so so much? the world turned upside down.
however little interaction we had, however fleeting n seemingly unimportant, it was genuine care, concern and affection.
like how we parked ourselves there when dad was away, he would say, 不要想这样多啦，想这样多干什么？
like how he would get talisman for zhi n hao, for blessings and protection .
like when we shook hands during cny.
like when i called to look for hao n zhi n he would pick up the phone.
like how he would ask me to eat, if i had eaten n such.
like most recently, during ben’s wedding, he put on long sleeve n long pants, it was the first time in my life seeing him dressed that way.
and amazingly, we had a photo of him with the kids.
there was regret because i did not take him seriously, i did not care for him genuinely, i was fleeting n careless. i didn’t use my heart.
i didn’t talk to him really, i didn’t ask about him.
and now that he is fighting for life, i m having so much regret.
its a tough lesson.
to offer your heart to your dear one.
ah kiat hia, thank you for loving us the way you did. you are very dear, and we wish you well.
with all our heart.
kiat left this morning .
when i decided to bring the kids to visit him in the hospital. but he left .
i actually felt relieved n yet stressed at the same time. i guess it stirred up something in me, i feel like i m bursting at the seams.
on the same evening, we brought the kids to pasir ris, and they fared so so so much better than e expected. maybe they were too young, maybe its their way of digesting.
i pre empted zhi before we went. i told her about the life cycle of a butterfly, then showed her the life stages from a baby to a girl then woman n old lady…. and what happens next.
she knew kiat died. hao had an inkling too.
but i certainly hope we r giving them a another angle to digest death, that it is a part of life. and a natural progression of life.
maybe thats why, i m having so much stress in me.
tin showed kiat had hao’s pix in his whatsapp.
but i m glad i brought the kids, and we said goodbye and thank u.
thank u ah kiat hia for loving us the way u did, and we hope you rest well in peace.
and i hear his words ringing in my ears: “不要想这么多啦，想这么多干什么？”
om ma ne pad me hum.