Apologies to all darling readers for inactivity in Bonjour Glow for the past few weeks. To those of you whom are following me on Twitter, you might already know of the reason behind my disappearance.
"Thank you for coming" I said, shaking the hand of many kind people. The last time I have touched the hands of so many, uttering these very words was my union with Ben a little under a year ago. But this time it was in a completely different tone. A wise mouse squeaked to me that families gather together in a few occasions, celebrations of unions, new born and in this case a funeral.
On the 4th of Dec 2010, God had decided that he needed my father up in Heaven more then we needed him here. Yes that is the reasoning I’m sticking too. We know not for sure but such is faith, and such is comfort…for the living at least.
After 10 years of surviving with Parkinson's, his health took a turn for worse. Sensing that his time was near after a bad episode, he was put in a home for my mother, alone with high blood pressure, could not care for him. Please do not judge us for this decision. It was a difficult choice to make.
His condition grew better as he gained back his strength, often seen exercising at the front porch of the home. Then, one last cue, Dad had high fever and was hospitalized. It came very swiftly, perhaps it is better then a long drawn out suffering, the eternal optimist in me chimed. Morbid.
By the time he drew his last breath alone at 5.30 am on that fateful Saturday morning, he had already made peace with all his children even his last wishes on how he wanted his body to be handled was shared. At that time, my brothers brushed it off as an inauspicious thing to say. Preferring dad to recover his strength and continue his advice another day at home.
It’s very typical of families especially Chinese not to mention about death but I guess my dad knew what was coming and wanted to ease our mind in at least a few aspects after. This time, being auspicious didn’t count.
The weekend was a blur to me. Fortunately this daddy’s girl has 3 elder brothers and kind relatives to make sense of the whole flurry. A simple Christian burial was arranged at a funeral parlor and a plot was chosen to be his final resting place. All taken care off by lunch time with relative ease.
A pastor from the church he was baptizes in many years ago, St. Mark’s Church tucked away behind my Alma Mater, conducted the funeral for 2 days. As kind souls came to pay their last respect to a relative, a teacher, a friend.
It was easy to keep busy tending to visitors and seeing to the little responsibilities, consciously telling yourself to make it go as smoothly as possible. Everything must be perfect.
But there were quiet moments, especially in the early mornings and late nights when not many people were around, as I said my good mornings, good nights, prayer and final words to my dad’s physical body laying in his coffin.
A flurry of emotions would weld up inside of me as the flood gates of tears were released. I’ve been known to be a cry baby. You see, I prefer to see my self being gifted with overwhelming sense of empathy. Yet, I know that this is a rite I have to enter and immerse myself in and to resurface once more.
Condolences started coming in from family and friends. Even those talented people whom I have not been lucky enough to meet in real life like Shah, Ohmywtf and Specter from the blog/twittersphere were kind enough share in a few moments the loss we we’re going through.
There was also controversy afoot as one of my brothers was away on a business trip in the US. My mother did not want him to know about dad’s passing, unsure of how he may take the news so far away. But he knew because of a little blue birdie.
Deep down inside we all knew this day would come. It was just a matter of time. The moment we are born we are already dying. But not many people would actually envision how it will go, how we will pass.
I now continue on with my daily life. It’s easier to not be affected when you are so far away. No physical reminder. No empty chair in the living room, extra tooth brush in the bathroom, bare bed where I am at. No anti-matter.
However, I do dread the moment that I may hypothetically absentmindedly utter “I wonder if Ah Pa’s medical appointment is due?” only to be stifled by the fact that he has no more appointments left in the living world. I cannot imagine what my mom is going through finding that book of his tucked under the many weeks later. Hypothetically speaking.
Calls and visits are made more frequently to touch base with her; encouragements to go for trips to relax the mind are said. Therapeutic advices such as “move on, stay strong” are peppered in every conversation.
My limited grasp of Hakka and Cantonese restricts all that I wish to convey in hopes to make my mom feel better and relieve her of her worries. One thing that I am glad I had started doing before my dad passing was to rid my self of the whole norm of physical bashfulness in my house and actually embrace my parents.
Yes, after many years of physical shyness I’ve started hugging my parents again. Awkward at first and still is but no regrets. Sometimes a hug can be so simple and yet prevailing. More comforting then a thousand eloquent words.
I managed to hug my dad a few more times before his passing. And I shall continue practicing on my mom.
I hope I have not turned your day too somber. If you have read the whole passage, I thank you deeply for taking the time in sharing a moment with me. If not, I still thank you for dropping by and contributing to my visitor count.
P/S: So have you hugged a loved one today? A sincere innocent simple hug?Alright, how bout a smile then?
PP/S: 23rd of Dec is my birthday and 25th is Christmas. My 1st without my dad =(