Nov 2, 2015

This Life

Sigh...How do I begin to write this? Having a writer's block can be a serious thing if your livelihood depends on it. Some years ago, before Dad became ill, life was good. Or at least everything seems to hold at its best. No major dramas.

Fast forward, now..I can't say the same. I believe God prep us into this. He is preparing us for times ahead. He blesses us with good things, happy things and we are contended with life and all that surrounds it. When we found out about Dad and his cancer, our lives turn upside down. Feelings aside, we struggled to keep everything afloat.

A year before the discovery, my sister quits her high flyer job. She stayed at home to catch up on her hobbies which are knitting and crocheting. She needed to rest after working in the corporate world for over 30 years. In that time, she and Dad bonded. Something she never did since young. Dad was never close to her but more with me. My sister was a survival in all things, she was street-smart you might say. But I was the sick child, the weak one. So Dad took care of me since young. And the one he had to protect and save me from everything.

Despite been born of the same parents and living in the same household, my sister and I have different characters, trains of thoughts and attitude of life. I guess its because of our lives, we are made to think differently.

The doctors told us that Dad will not last 2 years. A year and 8 months have past. Do we start counting now? Dad is now bedridden, and unable to get up from the bed for anything. In the recent weeks, he was reduced to drinking water via a spoon, the liquid/water/juices must be mixed with a thickener powder so it flows down his throat into his stomach. He is unable to eat anything solid. When we suggest to liquify cooked food, the doctors say not to give him as his body is conserving energy and will not need food. To date, 3 weeks now (since Oct 19), Dad has not eaten a single meal. However, the doctors allow him to eat ice cream. So now he lives on ice cream 2 times a day or more if he ask of it.

Last week I visited him and he tries to raise his hand to ask me to come nearer. He struggles to speak, so I had to put my head as close as I can to him..he said softly "You don't have to cook for me, ..I .... I"

I told him "Pa, I know you cannot eat anymore. But I have to cook for Ma to eat. If she doesn't eat, she will have fainting spells"

Pa nodded his head with agreement. Yet I saw the spark in his eyes have faded. As if life and hope is gone. So I put my hand on his chest, near his heart and reassured him and kept saying

"Pa, I know, I know"

My sister and I questioned God a 100 times. But its no longer "Why God, Why me?" We question God "Why don't you take him home with You?". We see him suffering daily. Dad lived to eat, not eat to live. Dad lived his life glorifying God, he took up Cantonese dialect on his own to learn to speak it effectively. So that he can preach the Gospel in Cantonese dialect to the illiterate old folks at our church. In Church of Singapore where we worship, Pa was a respectable Brother. For years, people sees me as "Brother Choong's daughter" and as if I have no name..!

I used to be resentful of that. Now, I see this as a great respect for Pa. I have written a eulogy for Pa ahead of time. My sister has already prep the things needed for a funeral. A Good black and white Photograph has been taken for Pa. So when the time comes, we will not panick and will hopefully get things done properly.

Pa wants his funeral to be done in a casket company and to last a day. And to be cremated the next day. He doesn't want us to cry and be sorrowful for too long. He wants his ashes to be cast into the sea. He wants us to remember him in our hearts.

I was tasked to handle all the funeral matters, to inform all of Pa's friends and church workers, of his ex-students. My sister will handle all the doctors and the medical part.

I talk like he's gone..but he is still around. And for how long, we have no idea. In the quietness in the household, in the void that we cannot do anything to ease his pain and suffering, we fuss over the funeral arrangements..a sign of coping?

Pa told us no big sobs and wailing. We can have tears but we should rejoice upon his death when it comes.

So this Life, now if you ask me, do I want to come back again?


Live it to the fullest, Be Happy with it. All the Good things it Gives along with all the BAD things. Don't hold back anything. Eat the fattest part of the pork, spread more kaya and butter on your toast. Live like there is no tomorrow. And when you are done with it, don't look back and wonder. Don't think about how best you could have lived it or the mistakes you made and how you can un-fault it. Don't, just Don't.

I am not coming back to This LIFE. I have the best. When its time, I'll go as happy as Pa says I should go. Rejoice!

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