I think the first time i heard of dying was being told by my mom there wouldn’t be school next day after waking up in middle of the night. There are blurry memories of her telling me grandpa had passed away and we must behave and keep out of the way when at home for a few days.
The next time i heard of death was in secondary school, when a close friend suddenly and tragically lost her mother to a cardiac arrest. But perhaps at the time, i was too young to fully grasp the meaning of losing a parent. Or any family member for that matter. I was more concerned about acting ‘normal’ around my friend. The only thing i remember distinctly is to this day i haven’t seen her shed tears over this loss. All i keep thinking is how strong she is.
I suppose the first time i actually ‘understood’ death was a few years ago, on demise of my grandmother. It wasn’t sudden. Yet, it managed to shock and sadden us. I can’t remember when exactly it was that we managed to come out of it; i guess time and memories acted as a healer, until one day we just moved on.
One afternoon last month death greeted me once again. Only this time, it came uninvited. My mom’s brother passed away as a result of strong cardiac arrest. For a few hours after receiving the news, a part of me was refusing to give in and believe that the tragedy had taken place. i mean, how could it even be possible? We had taken a vacation together just 2 months ago and were already planning another one with family in the coming months. It was so surreal. Since then, i’ve spent so many hours just reflecting and thinking to myself about the unpredictability of life. Or death rather.
And this line of thought came back again to haunt me yesterday. Death once again greeted, not close to home but close enough to leave me shocked and numb. A close friend of my brother lost his mom yesterday morning. After suffering a relapse and fighting for over two months, she was defeated by cancer. After all these years, it is perhaps the first time that I have started fearing loss of a dear one. My heart weeps for the young boy who has been suddenly forced to grow up. Having lost his father in childhood, he has watched his mother battle cancer while trying to come terms with the harsh realities of life. He now has to take care of himself and his older brother who is diagnosed with a physical condition and is disabled for life. When i met him earlier today, his eyes had a faraway look, as if searching and hoping for his mother to come back to him. He was trying to be so strong, for his brother, for his extended family, for himself, and above all for his mothers soul. I cannot even begin to imagine what thoughts must be going through his head a this moment. God give the family and especially these young boys the strength and courage to come out of this difficult time. Nobody deserves to be in this situation. Nobody at all.
Since yesterday, i’ve been searching for answers within and from the power above. Why does life test those who are most vulnerable? Why does tragedy befall those who have done nothing but good all their life? So many questions, but no answers. I am slowly turning into the person who no longer expects any good in the world. Slowly realising what stares as us each day in the face. The importance of family, parents, siblings and friends. Why does it take death of a dear one to remind us how small all of us are. Nothing matters except giving each other love and making another happy. Who cares what clothes you wear, who cares about the car you drive, how rich you are. Only the laughter and memories matter.
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”