I seldom have time nor inclination to post the following... but somehow this year, this time, this minute, I feel like it.
My 2010 New Year resolution is that all my friends have a happy 2010. We all, somehow or other, have some unpleasant memories; I have had my share.
The following was something I had posted online a few months ago. It was after the accidental (car-related) death of a guy that was part of a closed-community that I was a part of (but is no longer).... :
Member blackhorse@Ruben's passing somehow affected me a lot even though I have never met nor corresponded with him. To be honest, I was surprised myself how much it affected me. Hence this post.
A number of things went through my mind when I first got the SMS from Terence yesterday evening. It was a combination of shock and sadness. Anger was there also after I read Suffian's post explaining the circumstances under which Ruben met with his fatal accident.
I have had the unfortunate experience of sufferring the death of loved ones in my life.
My brother-in-law was the first, and I had deep regrets in not being able to reach his house earlier after I got the call from my wife (since I was the nearest kin to my bro-in-law's house at that time)... and I had even greater regrets in not knowing how to do CPR There was nothing I could do; my sister-in-law (the wife) was crying and asking me to help when I reached their house. My bro-in-law was laying on a row of chairs put together. I checked his pulse and then his breath, and he wasn't breathing. It was the first time I had encountered such a situation and I didn't know what to do; I didn't know CPR. My wife arrived shortly after me and all I could say was "He's gone..." and then my wife rushed over to my bro-in-law (her brother) and started yelling "Ah Lek... Ah Lek... wake up, wake up...". I just felt so helpless then, looking at my wife and sis-in-law, both of them sobbing.
Me and my wife had our first child in 1995. There was so much joy, understandably. Midway during my wife’s pregnancy, we bought a house (we were staying at my parents’ house then) and we did the usual renovations. Something happened that made my wife tell me “I wanna move to our own house now.” And so we did, which was late in her pregnancy. Everything was normal after that, my wife went into labour at the expected time. I stayed with her as much as I could while she was in the Tung Shin hospital, only leaving to do some essential things. The first night at the hospital, my wife told me to go home and rest, I objected but after her persuasion, I relented and went home to sleep. I got a call from the hospital in the early morning of the next day, telling me to go to the hospital urgently, no time to explain to me. By the time I got there, my wife was in an emergency Caesarian. I was told by the nurses that my son’s monitored heartbeat fell alarmingly during the night. After the Caesarian, the doctor told me my baby had ingested meconium ( a baby’s first stool). When my wife was wheeled out of the operation theatre, she kept asking me “What happened?” because she didn’t know anything. Later, while she was resting, I informed here. My critical-situation baby son was sent to KLGH. I flitted back and forth between my wife and my son. At KLGH, a paedetrician informed me of my baby’s situation, which wasn’t good. It was unlikely he would survive. I had asked if my baby could possibly be a handicapped Special Person if he lived and the doc said that it was highly likely. I was crushed and my mind swirled. I had even asked the doc if it was legally possible to let my son go; the doc said it is possible but it is illegal. I went to visit my baby. He was like choking or coughing often, with tubes going into his tiny little body. I left to return to be with my wife. She asked me how was Xie Ming and I lied to her. My baby passed away less than 12 hours after his birth. Later on, I found out that it was extremely bad feng shui to shift to a new house when the wife is pregnant. Believe?
My father passed away in 2001, after a struggle with “old man’s disease”. Towards the end of his life, he could no longer take care of himself and slept most of the time. My mother who was already 70 at the time also could no longer take care of him (my father no longer could go to the toilet himself) and I had to make the difficult decision to send him to a home. My father, at that time, was a bit delusional already, often extending his hand out as if reaching out for some invisible person. I kinda recognized the signs. I had asked him “Who are you reaching out for?” and he would like suddenly come back to reality and replied “Oh no, nobody…”,. My father passed away in his sleep less than 24 hours after I had admitted him to the home. He was 80.
What I’m trying to say is that Life is both Precious as well as Uncertain. And that we should cherish always and as much as possible the time we have, to spend it with our loved ones. I regret never knowing how to help my brother-in-law, I regret not being with my wife that night and I regret not loving my father more before he passed away. The sight of Xie Ming struggling to breathe still haunts me somewhat till today, although me and my wife are extremely happy with our only son, our 10-year-old Sean. Our son Sean had asked us before if he could have a brother and we had told him that he does have a brother, just that his brother is “away”. In time, we will let him know.
LGTC brothers and sisters… what happened to Ruben is the saddest thing in the history of this unique club/community/family. The loss of one of this family’s members played on my mind from the time news of his demise was forwarded to me by Terence. I never met Ruben but it doesn’t matter. LGTC is such a unique fraternity.
I hope everyone here recognizes how fragile Life is. We spend a lot of time talking and joking about driving fast (and therefore living dangerously). It is nice to have such banter, yes, but I sincerely hope everyone here will practice sound judgement and due carefulness. It only takes something small to cause a lot of heartache… driving fast when a dog sudenly runs across the road, or a little stone that jumps up onto your front windscreen, or an insect within your car cabin, or a call on your handphone. What happened to Ruben wasn’t his fault… but it simply pays to be aware at all times whenever you are on the road, whether driving a car or riding a bike.
What I have described above is simply an example of what can happen to a normal person.
If you aren’t afraid of Death, then you should at least be a responsible human being by thinking about your loved ones. We never like to read about bad news… we certainly don’t want our loved ones and friends to mourn and suffer because you died.
At 44-yo, I only hope that I can continue to keep my wife and my son happy. I hope that the rest of you -- my friends -- will have a very happy 2010 as well.
Happy New Year.