I’m shy, therefore I write.

I had a dream
November 6, 2009, 3:48 am
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It was a night of many dreams. I haven’t dreamt for a long time, so tired I was from the daily tasks of looking after Ethan. This time, I finally dreamt of my father. And it was a temporary reprieve of sorts.

It was a near perfect dream – everything I wanted to say to my father was said before he passed. The whole family took a drive in his car during his dying moments. He sat in the passenger seat next to the driver, weak but with moments of soberness. I was able to tell him about God, take him to all his familiar places (although in the dream, none of the places was familiar to me; it resembled a beach town in the evening). Most importantly, I was able to repeat constantly in his ear “I love you papa” as he suffered a seizure (much like a heart attack but I let him bite me) and went floating away in death. I dreamt that as he was released from the grip of this world, he was at rest and at peace because these four words were ringing in his ear. I felt peace. It was precious, and brief. Then the funeral. It was a christian funeral – simple, brief and elegant. I got to hold his coffin and we sang a song that sang of God, peace, mercy, rest and forgiveness. All his friends stood in pairs and marched up to his burial place after us. We sobbed and wept, and no one was laughing, chatting or collecting money. The mood was suitably sombre. It was fitting, at last.

And then I woke up. As I realise that the peace I felt was temporary, anxiety gripped me once again. Where is he? Did he hear the four words ringing in his ear as he departed? Was this dream a sign from God or from him that he understood, and that he’s in a better place? I don’t know. I felt unsure once again.

I drifted off to sleep, and this time, the dream descended into sci-fi chaos. I was drafted into a secret team, the purpose of which was unclear, but I was told to go through a treatment that will help me deal with issues I need to face before being ready for action again. I never got to that treatment, strangely. Then I floated to another scene, where I have six or seven children with Thomas, some adopted, and I couldn’t find or recognise which ones I have actually given birth to. I was also lost in the throngs of his myriad family members. And somehow the Sydney Opera house at nighttime kept coming into the picture. I remember how much I longed to go there again.


Showers to wash away the pain
November 5, 2009, 9:22 am
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Ever since the day of his cremation, it has been raining, And raining, and raining, and raining. As if the sky is mourning what those living has forgotten – the passing of a generous man who has touched others. And the rain came out in full force, repressed for long, and with all the works – dazzling lightning, deafening thunder – in all its wrath.

Where are you now, I wonder? Are you in heaven, floating around in a nether-hemisphere or all surrounding me? Will you go to heaven, as you have prayed the sinner’s prayer before. Will God make you one of His, even though when you said it you were having dementia? Will God bring to judgment those around you, for failing to follow up on His love for you while you were sober?

And that’s what tore me most. If everyone must have a single regrettable moment to carry in his or her life, then mine starts now. It sure is heavy. The immense guilt for not sharing Christ’s love for those you love most and who is dependent on you. Whose salvation lies in your hands. He doted on me most. He would have said yes to anything I said. Why didn’t I tell him about God?

Dear God, I am a sinner and I know I have failed you. Will you, in your generous mercy and all-knowingness, overlook my iniquities and help save a soul for your kingdom? I weep inwardly, as you only can tell. If it is not too late, I beseech you for your mercy, such that when the day of judgement comes, his soul will be one of those raised up to heaven. That we will be reunited.

The rain comes in torrents, as if to wash away the pain, wipe the ashes off the floor, gather up the broken pieces. I wish it would continue raining… for a while at least…

At least, I get to keep the car.

Am I the only person mourning?
November 4, 2009, 9:14 am
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They are reclaiming your car, although they say they will gift it to us provided we repay the remaining instalments. Would I be able to keep your memory, your last merc with me? So much of you is in that car.

I feel that half of me is dead. But everyone else seem to go on as if nothing has happened.

This poem by W.H. Auden best describes how I feel:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Remembering My Papa
October 28, 2009, 6:39 pm
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My earliest memory of my dad is of me throwing a tantrum in a locked up room. My mum would refuse to give in to me on some matter, and I would resist right to the end, refusing to eat or speak to anyone in protest. Often, the only person who will come in and coax me would be my Dad. He has the ability to bring me comfort in the face of my Mum’s steely demeanour in his gentle jovial and giving manner. He will give in to me on the source of my resistance, and whether that eventually happened was irrelevant, for I felt I had won and my resistance was rewarded to some extent.

Another occasion I could remember was my birthday. My birthday falls a day after children’s day, and for this reason I could always badger my dad for an extra gift. I remember searching through the house, high and low for that mystery gift in a mysterious location which my dad has secretly stashed the gift in. He would play along with me and pretend that he didn’t get me anything. But I was sure, and persistent, and I will hunt the gift down to its existence. And was I delighted with triumph when I found it!

To me, he was always a giving and doting father. I cajoled him into giving me a note or loose change from his trouser pockets each time before he goes out, so I’ll get extra pocket money to buy the things I like. He hardly say no to me, and will accomodate my every request, as was his spirit – except those which requires him to take time off work. He is a workaholic, never took a day off unless forced to, and will often work from morning to night. Past dinner and sometimes past supper. We hardly have meals together to that end, except for the reunion dinner, and it was an unfortunate thing. Many times, because of his work, his promises to take me out if I get good grades will come to naught. I resented him for it for a long time, vowing not to believe in promises from other people, and instead to rely on myself to make my wishes come true.

My father hardly disciplined me. Probably because we see so little of him, he didn’t want to play the bad guy. The few times he was fierce, we were all so scared. It worked miles better than many thousand scoldings from my mum. I remembered one particular incident he was sterner with me than usual. I was sick often when I was young with asthma, and my mum put me on an especially strict diet excluding chicken, eggs and many other foods that kids love. I remembered sneakily eating some steamed chicken in the kitchen, and that night unfortunately, was found out when I had an asthma attack. My mum suspected what I had done and she wanted me to admit it but I was too scared. Then my dad came to me and wanted me to admit to him, saying that he won’t be angry with me. But I was still too cowardly to admit. I remember mulling over that incident many times over since, wondering how I could make myself to lie before my beloved father. Somehow, even in the face of grace, I couldn’t do the right thing I knew he wanted me to do. It was a moment of shame.

My childhood was littered with many favourable memories of my dad. Mostly it revolved around the food he will bring me for supper after he comes home later at night – the satays, the hokkien noodles, hor-fun. Oh how I look forward to those times, when I will wait patiently past my bedtime to see what he has bought for us tonight. These are real treats. Then there are the times when he will steal in a trip to the petrol kiosk after he fetches me from school on the way home. That way, I could get him to buy me snacks which I’d quickly gobble up on the way home so my mother wouldn’t find out. On rare occasions when my mother is too busy to make me lunch, he will pick me up from school and we will go to Lion City hotel cafe for fish and chips. I vaguely remember he watching me tuck in greedily into my fried fish dipped generously with tomato ketchup.

Those were the precious moments I spent with him. Some called him a 24-7 father, for he will pick me up from school without fail. I remember watching out for his blue merc in front of the school gate without fail – or a white merc, a black merc, as he changes his car often tho’ always a merc. (I’m driving his purple merc now – the last he will have). On occasion, I will follow him to the office, hanging around while he works, playing with all the sample stationery he has in his room. He will let me into the gallery at the end of the day and let me have anything I want in the hall – which include boxes of colour pencils, pencil cases, erasers and all.



He Lives On in my Heart
October 27, 2009, 2:25 pm
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It’s with tremendous sorrow that I pen down these words – my father has passed away yesterday morning, 26 October 2009, 11:43am.

The rush of emotions and experiences that follows are indescribably terrible. Actions don’t do justice to the heart. Emotions are kept underwraps via a dizzying process of doing this and that, getting the logistics done. Mourners are not given a private respectful respite for their grief.

I wish to cry out, STOP! and demand everyone turn their eyes back to the body that lies in the coffin. This is not another dead body, but someone’s father, husband, boss, friend, comrade.

Alas, so many factors seem out of my control. I miss him like crazy. I only wish I let him know how much I loved him when he was around to know. I wish I hadn’t made him feel so unspecial. And lonely, and depressed. I wish for a second chance, for him, for me.

Where are you right now, Papa? Is your soul floating away to a nice place, leaving the disgraceful and ungrateful world into a place where you are loved? Has God and His angels claimed you as one of his children? Please wait for me, and let me serve you better in another place.

What’s going on? Confused, muddled, grieved.

Why did I go back?
August 24, 2009, 2:02 pm
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For those not in the know, I am back to work for a month. Just for a month.

Was terribly excited and flattered to be called back. I missed work, my colleagues, the great conversations, the thrill of getting another mention for the company in the media!

Then, after the initial euphoria passed, I wondered why I went back to Monday blues, tiring pumping sessions, enduring the silence of the work environment, worrying about picky colleagues and bosses.


Was it worth it? No. I kept thinking of how the time could be better spent with Ethan. Now the routine is disrupted and he’s back with my in-laws, I’m going to have a hard time re-settling him back to home again. What’s more, my milk supply is dipping. My breast doesnt really respond to the pump as well as to his suckling. If I’m going to have to resort to formula just because of this stint, I’ll really regret it!

Another few weeks more. Do my national service and don’t go back, at least for a few months.

When do you stop being a girl?
July 16, 2009, 3:41 pm
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I like this. From “Captivating – Unveiling the mystery of a Woman’s Soul”

“I’m trying to remember when I first knew in my heart that I was no longer a girl, but had become a woman. Was it when I graduated from high school, or college? Did I know it when I married? When I became a mother? I am forty-five years old as I write this, but there remain places in my heart that still feel very young….”

How true. Many times in my current journey as a wife and mother, I will realise with a shock that others may not perceive me so much as a girl than a woman. But trouble is, why do I still feel like a little girl inside me playing house? I may start to get wrinkles, ugly brown spots, sagging muscles and appear to age outwardly in every aspect, but inside me time stands still. The me at ages 4, 12, 15, 18, 21, 26, 29 and now.. all co-exist within me although as time passes, I hang on tighter to the me at the earlier ages.

The voice that speaks inside me is that of a girl, the voice that people hear is that of a woman.