Rule of thumb: no one understands the pain of losing a parent- until they have gone through it themselves.
A very painful lesson, I’d like to admit. Not something I’d like to wish on anyone. The realistic fact of life shows that when life can’t knock you down any lower, life takes someone away from you. That’s simplistically fair, of course- because no one can live forever. But there’s a part of me that wondered that it would make logical sense that him leaving would be less painful considerably because there was a very large part of my life that I grew up without my dad and I grew up well without him.
And then you realize that he was probably the first man on earth that ever loved you. The one who picked you up from school when you were six. Who drove you to the clinic and chided you as you got 6 stitches on your shin for climbing on the bus seats like a monkey. “There are worse fathers out there, you know.” A friend said to me once. And as I boarded that 6am airplane with Charles and Sarah I thought to myself, “How could it be- that my dad, aged 68 could die of a heart attack?” while listening to Charles going on and on about how he probably faked his own death and got a new identity to evade the CPF system (lol) yes following Kubler Ross’s model of coping with grief, we were very much in denial. It is difficult to close such a wound, no matter how much time has passed.
Today, Auntie Pat spoke to me about how Ethan (Brian’s 4 year old) says he will see her dog (macho) at the rainbow bridge where Mr Lee Kuan Yew waits. I couldn’t help but interject- “I’m not sure if I want to see my dad at the rainbow bridge. I don’t want two all knowing souls being angry and quarrelling with one another when they meet”. We had a good laugh. She then joked that I would probably be stuck in purgatory so there’s still some time for me.
Fast forward, it’s been two years since you’re gone. And I think I’ve grown a lot and learnt a lot from the work that I do. Sometimes I wish you were here but my ego reminds me that i contain 50% of your genetic material so I probably wouldn’t have made the first move either.
On days that I remember you, I think of all the good memories you have left me with. With that reminder, I take to my heart that I must learn to grow into a better person.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace