For You, Daddy!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Why and Why Now

Filed under: Blogging — by For you, Daddy! @ 3:00 pm
Tags: , ,

I have liked writing as much as I did reading for as long as I can remember. Not poetry or prose; no, nothing as profound as that. I liked writing letters to relatives who lived in other parts of the country and the world. I liked writing essays in school. I even liked the exercise in English literature class wherein we constructed sentences using words we had just learned in our school lesson.

After I left high school, my creative writing was restricted to mail alone. Since I began writing my newsletters in 2006 to a bigger group of my contacts, I’ve been told several times by some of them that I ought to blog or write where I could reach a wider reader base. I appreciated their encouragement, but I was held back by apprehensions over privacy.

I’ve experienced some difficult emotional times in the past 3 years. Despite that, I have had, and still do have, a good grip on my life due to my faith, my family and my friends. Reading a couple of blogs, too, helped bolster my spirits if they threatened to sag. Blogs written by strangers taught me about things I didn’t know; oh, just random things that connected dots sometimes, or took me into completely new terrain at other times. Some blogs made me smile, some made me laugh. An upward curve of the mouth or the mouth opened wide with head thrown back is welcome no matter the emotional climate!

I noticed the growing influence in my life of blogs written by people I do not know at all and one day, a few months ago …

This image is licensed under Creative Commons. Thank you, cheerfulmonk, for letting me share your luminescence!

I realised I could still help people the way Daddy would have liked me to!

In the past, when the people I care about went through dips in life, I was not always right next to them to  alleviate their pain or to make them feel less lonely, but my written word came pretty darned close to wrapping my arms around their slumped shoulders, some told me. Others said they felt energised by my tales, and that caused them to be tail-between-the-legs no more. And there were a handful of others who blurted something along the lines of, “Kate, you are one cray-zay woman!” I prefer to interpret those as compliments.

So, since my hammer-and-tongs hands (which is beaten in volume only by my motor mouth) could elicit such responses from people I know, could my words then have the same effect on people I do not know at all? A pretty ambitious thought. And there’s only one way to find out.

As mentioned in  the ‘About This Blog’ page, I have chosen not to tell any of the people I know about this blog; not even those on the character roll. I want readers to be drawn to my blog on the strength of my narrative. Not because I am some font of wisdom; not by a long shot! But because I learn from people I don’t know at all, too; by observing them and reading about them in their own words or someone else’s. I hope to pass on my experience and views with the same hope that it may help someone in some way. If you happen to crack a smile or chuckle even while perusing my posts, even better!

In my fourth and current career avatar as a social worker, I try to do what I can to make the people I come in contact with feel a little less burdened, a little less alone.

Thank you, Colin Gibson, for permitting me the use of your image.

As Daddy wished all those years ago, I am ready to reach out to a wider group. Finally.

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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Beta

Filed under: Death — by For you, Daddy! @ 9:00 am
Tags: , , ,

In this case,

Beta = second because the e-mail below was the second one I sent out en masse.

and

Beta = test because sending a mass e-mail was still new to me at that point in time.

I have never been afraid of death or dying, thanks to Daddy and Mummy who embraced the inevitable next step in our life cycle with a wholesome attitude. As a result, death is a topic I am very comfortable talking about. It is very hard for me to know that I will not see someone I care about again in this life, but my faith gives me courage to carry on each time I experience the demise of someone dear to me.

The Equally Beautiful Ending

This scene reminds me of the summer holidays our family spent by the sea.

This ‘Beauty of Sunset’ image is from www.skitzone.com 

The following  is the e-mail I wrote to my contacts a month after Daddy passed away. 

Hello everyone,

Daddy passed away last month in the early hours of the 16th. I had left just the day earlier for my Spring Festival (Chinese New Year to most the world) holidays. I had gone to my colleague,  Ren’s hometown. Ren lives in a small town and doesn’t have a landline at home. (We were at too high an altitude to be cellphone accessible.) As a result, Big Bro and Big Sis couldn’t get a hold of me immediately. I learned about Daddy two days later via e-mail. I did not make it for the funeral even though Daddy was inhumed only on the 19th evening.

As you know, Daddy had had a stroke way back in 1990, but was still in fairly good shape (walking albeit with a walking stick, talking and socialising). He and Mum celebrated a major wedding anniversary four years earlier and he was in top form mentally. However, over the past three years, he began to slip gradually, but surely. So it was more a question of When, not If.

Ever since I left home for nursing school, I dreaded this bit of news, despite Daddy being in the pink back then. Every time the plane taxied down the runway before takeoff or as the bus pulled out of the long distance bus terminus, I used to always pray and ask God to make my next trip home a scheduled one, like the holidays, and not for an emergency. I was blessed that I got what I asked for all these years.

Somehow last March, when I left home on the 9th, I was about to ask God for the same, when I thought, “I’ve always begged You for the same all these years. This time, You do what You want. I’d love for Daddy to be here when I come down next year, but if You want him before that, I’ll accept it.” I was quite stunned that I even thought of that. I felt guilty and was angry with myself because I felt as if I was actually asking for Daddy to be taken from us. Now I realise, it wasn’t that at all.

Daddy (Mummy, too) was never afraid of dying or death. It was the way things are supposed to be, he explained, all those years ago. Dust to dust and all that. In my selfishness and ignorance, all I could think of was how I would not have him around, etc. It was all about I, me, myself. But now, I get it. That’s why, much as I dislike the thought of Daddy not being here in a tangible way, I believe he is where he and all of us are destined to be.

I’ve been in frequent contact with my family, Alexis (my dear friend in Kathmandu), relatives and friends at home. My current contract in China ends in July and I will head home then. Instinctively, I thought I’d quit now to be with Mummy, but she’s been one heck of a rock and is handling the sudden vacuum in her life with her trademark élan. Her whole life revolved around Daddy and that’s why, all of us are surprised at how well she’s coping. Another of her traits that I aspire to emulate.

 I know you are aware I was very close to Daddy, so I would like to assure each of you that I really am doing well despite being away from the rest of my family at this time. The strong bonds we share and our faith helped them and me bridge the gap.

Love,

Kate

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