Dear Boy

The past 2 weeks was rough, I have to bear witness to the death of 2 persons very dear to me. The first one was kind of a shocker, and yet not, Harry sensei died on 25 April and your 四姨婆 died 2 May.

Harry sensei’s death hit me particularly hard, and I struggle to contain my emotions, and barely having time to manage my grief, your 四姨婆 died. It is a kind of double whammy and I think these back to back deaths matured me quite a bit, and I can fully absorb the emotions of grief and mourning.

It is a very reflective, deep thoughts and moody process, and often cast a dark pall over me, I think everyone can see it, especially the both of you and your mum as well. Having to still go to work, and interact with people, I have to compartmentalize my emotions and continue with my profession. My colleagues asked me: “How’s you weekend?” I can’t get myself to say: “Yeah, my sensei just died, and guess what? My wife’s aunt died as well!” It’s just not something you go around telling people so I simply replied: “Great!” (Please don’t dig any further, I’m barely holding it together.)

Please Excuse Me While I Grief

Of all the deaths in my life, I felt the heaviest when it comes to Harry sensei’s passing, and this sensation is particularly painful at the ‘heart’ area, it’s not a sharp pain, but that deep throbbing ache which threatens to reduce me into a heap of tears. I sigh a lot, there is really no mood for anything else, and apart from the necessary interactions, I kept to myself, and I looked at the floor more as I walked around, probably to avoid eye contact, for fear that people can see that sadness in my eyes. Emotionally I am running on empty.

This was the first time I became truly acquainted with grief.

There is no obvious logic or rationale to grief, it cannot be articulated, it is just pure raw emotions and your mood can swing from kindness to selfishness, almost with a kind of, ‘DO NOT DISTURB‘ sign hanging around your neck, not wanting to give a ‘F’ about the world for the time being. Thank you very much.

While death is a closure to many, it introspectively opens up a kind of sensitivity I am learning to live with.

We are all vulnerable

There is no escaping Death, I long felt it when I was young, and I wrote about it “Death“, an experience I felt when I was merely 19 years old. I was younger then, and youth, are often associated with a lack of perspective and a crude pragmatism, I take my ‘Death experience’ naively as a privileged to me or perhaps it was a ‘shield’, protecting me from actually feeling grief.

That is until someone I really treasure and love dies, and these 2 deaths really pried me open to the full vulnerability of grief. You feel helpless, hopeful, heaviness, all in one.

Yet the vulnerability I felt cannot be fully worded, with Harry sensei’s and 四姨 passing, and all the good I have seen them do, and now that they no longer can continue doing, appeals to me that I must carry on, be nicer to people, be more caring, be sensitive to others, be humble, be everything Harry sensei and 四姨 has taught me, by showing me. I want to be nicer to people, so that if they’d asked, I can tell them, I learned it from my sensei, I learned it because my 四姨, who is no longer with me, was one of the nicest person alive. Wanting to make this world a nicer place is perhaps my own private way of honoring their memory.

Vulnerability is very powerful

Everyone is vulnerable, period. No matter how strong, tough or successful a person is, there is a quiet silent part where we all feel somewhat lacking, inadequate and falling short of. Having gone through 2 funerals in 2 weeks exposes me to this part of humanity which connects all of us. While we all celebrates big dramatic wins in life, nobody really wants to be with us when we are hurt, down, beaten and vulnerable. The irony is that at our most weakest, we are most connected to the raw spirit which fuels our existence. Death binds us all.

I found myself back in the warm, dark embrace of Death again, thinking about my own mortality, what to do with my life. There is a certain limitedness of our lives, and yet, those who have passed, came, did great things, show love, wisdom and kindness, challenged Death by fully living, and when they die, leave behind a huge momentum of good, for us to continue living.

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