Monday, February 04, 2013

Death at the forefront

Last week was a week that really made me want to bubble wrap my family.

1. My 3rd Uncle passed away.
We celebrated his 80th last November. I wasn't very close to him when I was growing up. But in the last 10 years, I had developed a great sense of respect and admiration for his wife and himself as they set up the Breast Cancer Foundation in Singapore and really walked the talk in everything they did. I went to my aunt's birthday celebration some years back as well and was just floored by how much they openly loved and had great affection for each other. When he passed away, I was genuinely sad and even writing about it now makes me well up. It affects me on many levels but the one nearest the surface is that as more and more of my relatives pass away, I am made keenly aware of the fact that it will one day (in the not all that distant future) be my turn to mourn the loss of my parent. And despite how many issues I have with my parents, I cannot bear for that day to draw close.

2. By extension of that, the death of anyone in my immediate family. I tried not to read or listen or watch anything to do with the two boys who were killed last week (On purpose, I am not hyperlinking it to anything). I did not consciously think about it. But one morning, when Evan asked if he could bike across with me to the supermarket and his brother and sister joined in the plea, before I could stop it, images of the two boys and the accident flashed across my mind and clutched my heart. No, I replied, more emphatically and forcefully that I intended. All the possible heart ache, fear and despair into that one word.

All these macabre and dark and twisty thoughts were made worse by the fact that we 'lost' Jordan and Muffin yesterday and Muffin tried to do a spiderman thing today.

1. Because it was nearing CNY, the Town Council provided removal services for people who wanted to chuck out old furniture and stuff. We decided to chuck out our 10 year-old 'picked up from the void deck' standing sewing machine shell that we used as a side table. While Packrat and the helper lugged it down, I was changing; Jordan, thinking that everyone had left without Muffin and her, put on her own shoes and shoes for Muffin and took him downstairs to catch up with us. When we realised they weren't in the house or on the corridor, my heart stopped. I had to make myself look over our ledge to make sure they weren't below (an awful awful thing to ever do). Eventually, Packrat found them. Jordan had brought Muffin to where we usually wait for Packrat to pull up with the car. When she didn't see us there, she crossed the road to the carpark with Muffin in tow and back again when she realised we weren't there.

All the things that could have gone very wrong flashed in full and vivid colour in my head. And all that fear came out in a loud and angry scolding, only tempered by the fact that she burst into tears but all the while holding on to her baby brother's hand.

2. Today, in a moment of hyped excitement over getting a real working four-wheeler bike, Muffin leaps up onto the corridor wall, high enough to grab onto the ledge and with his feet planted on the wall, starts to scale it, with nothing on the other side apart from 14 floors of air. I was watching him all the time but it took me a split second to find my voice and holler him down. What if he had gotten to the top? I couldn't even begin to imagine or perhaps it was because I could.

So, if this post sounds a bit crazed, it's because I am; by all the fear and close brushes, especially after last week.

The conclusions that I have come to are these:

I have crazy proof to myself that I am not a self-centred individual who cares only about what happens to me and there are people in my life that I love more than anything else.

I am not in control of anything and while I can try my darndest to protect them and nag at them, I can't be everywhere at the same time and it really doesn't take much for anything to happen if it does. And on top of it, even if it is expected, it will pulverise me to nothing and I can't do anything about it. And that, is a very paralysing thought.

All I can do is pray and hope that where ever every single one of the people I love go, there are angels on each side of them.

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