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