The Passing

How do we measure loss?

Do we measure the time that they have gone, the way once we measured their birthdays? Do we calculate the times when it gets too hard to breathe or quantify the hollowness between each heartbeat?

We don’t talk about death. It isn’t the morbidity of death itself, but the rawest and purest of emotions that cuts deep within. When someone we know dies, we grief. We cope. We pay our condolences to the living and our last respects to the departed.

But what happens to the people who are left behind? How do we come to terms the emptiness that lingers within the air?

On the same day I celebrated the joyous union of two people, I lost someone I know. I will always remember him as a simple man who was never short of smiles. The little head that popped across the fence and simple pleasantries we exchanged. But for his heartbroken family, they lost more than a neighbour; they lost a lifetime partner, a sibling, a father, a grandfather,  a friend.

So tell me, what happens to the people who are left to pick up the pieces? For the inconsolable widow who sobbed uncontrollably as she retold the happenings leading to his final moments. For the strongest of men that let their tears fall so naturally. For the people who knew him well.

Death brings life into perspective, much like the appreciation of light in presence of darkness. It is in death, we remember the living. Look around us, who matters most? What if the last time you talk a person will be the last? What will your last memories be?

Grief is unexpected; it catches you by surprise, like a gush of wind or a wave that crash onto the shore. At the end of the day, death is inevitably part of life; so, allow yourself to grief.

With each breath you take, allow yourself to heal.

I Lost You in Croatia

I don’t know you well, but I lost you anyway.

I lost you on the way from Zadar, three years ago. After I received the unexpected notification, I remembered looking out of the van down the scenic road, and nothing much after. It was as though as I ate an ice cream too fast, except that the brain-freeze lasted longer than a few seconds. The world then felt as though it simultaneously sped up and slowed down, like a broken record player.

That day, I walked into a tiny church, while the rest of my friends were enjoying the scenic view of Croatia. I sat at the pew alone as I mourned for you. I lit a candle and prayed for your safe journey. And once again, I struggled to cope with the brutality of loss. You were a difficult person to know, with your barrier up and ego high, but you were family. Despite that, given the circumstances of how you left, it pained me to know that you may be alone in your final moments.

I hardly looked at the photographs taken during the trip since, knowing that behind posed smile that looked natural were seemingly forced. As days turned into weeks and months into years, I learn to cope with grief, one of the many inevitable life lessons that shape and define us.

But once in a while, I look up at the sky sometimes, and hope that wherever you are, you finally found peace.

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Croatia, 2013

Closure

I don’t understand the things you did,
But I wished you know,
I loved you nevertheless

I can’t take your tiredness away,
But with every dish I scrubbed,
I wanted to ease your burden

I can’t take your anger away,
But with every floor I mopped,
I showed you I cared

I can’t take your bitterness away,
But with every cake I baked,
I hoped to sweeten your day

I can’t take your remorse away,
But with my last breath,
I forgave you

I can’t take your grief away
I can only hope
you find peace within.

The Hand

Sometimes it takes something so simple, so ordinary, to make you remember a memory you’ve forgotten. Like an old song that comes on the radio reminds you of the person who made you a mix tape. Or the taste of Cornetto ice cream reminds you of the mini celebration of a sweet victory with your best friend.  Continue reading

Strangers in the Train 2

I take the train KLCCback from work for convenience sake. It is the time that I see the most strangers from different walks of life. An observer by nature, I am comfortable with blending into the background and survey the surroundings. There is a safe thrill about observing, you get to guess what people’s lives are, take in their behaviours and occasionally find the silver lining of the day.

Today, like any other workday, I took the train back home.

It had been a long week. Work piled up and with different softwares to learn in a short amount of time, I found myself stuck in office way past working hours. As the sun set after seven in KL, when I came out of the building, I was greeted with street lights and car headlights. I paced quickly towards the train station, briefly stealing glances around in case anyone was following me. Continue reading

A Stranger’s Kindness

I hardly drive since I graduated from university.The first time I had to drive alone in KL, it wasn’t by choice: I had to go to the client office 60 km outskirt of the city.

The night before my first trip, I had a lot of visual images of worst-case scenarios running through my head; being distracted by a text message, finding an alternative route in Waze, adjusting the radio frequency, or avoiding a motorcyclist. In my head, every time I peel my eyes away from the road for a split second, it ends with a crash. Continue reading