Tag Archives: Death

forever young

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Greetings all! I know, it’s been well over a week since I last blogged. So much for hoping to blog weekly! Each night I try to get on the computer after my children have gone to bed, but I’ll be too shattered to put my thoughts down. My hubby said it doesn’t matter if I blogged every fortnight instead, no point sticking to my once a week writing if it’s not of good quality. I suppose he has a point. Anyway, here I am tonight, missing my blog and ready to share some thoughts with you!

Now that we’re officially middle-aged (my hubby disagrees, he who still has thick curly hair and taut tummy compared to other men his age!), I cannot help but hear of illnesses and deaths all around me. I mean, we do hear about it all the time, but somehow it stays with me a bit longer than usual now that I’m older. I remember losing a very dear cousin of mine when I was about 20. He was barely 17. My first real loss, I was devastated, but I quickly bounced back. I was very sad but I didn’t go around thinking that it could also happen to me. Like being ill or being involved in a tragic accident, it’s unfortunate that it had happened to others but surely it wouldn’t touch me? I then heard of several University mates passing away in my mid 20s, again same line of thoughts occurred. Afterwards a few relatives died suddenly in their late 50s, I remember how I wasn’t too bothered at all. Until my own dad passed away in my early 30s, then it hit me real hard!

I went around like a zombie afterwards, I kept thinking about death. Life seemed really bleak from then on. I wanted to wear all black permanently, I felt no joy whatsoever. My husband was really patient with me, always there to pick me up. I then found happiness once more when my daughter was born the following year. Children keep you busy 24/7, they are the essence of life. You cannot be half dead whilst raising children, you have to be fully awake. You need to be alive in every sense of the word! So my life resumed its normalcy. All 3 of my remaining grandparents also passed away the same year, but I could handle it. I was busy with my family life and more accepting of death. I then lost my dear Uncle a few years ago (so sad, he reminded me of my father a lot), I was able to deal with my emotion through one of my posts, Goodbye Uncle. Until now of course, fast forward 15 years, we arrive to where I am today.

Now it’s like an everyday occurrence almost; I hear so and so being ill, I hear so and so dying. And I start questioning my own mortality, I know I’m being morbid but I just can’t help it. Today I went to the doctor’s for my health check-up, all seemed fine (Alhamdulillah) apart from the usual hormonal change that women my age go through. Even that made me a little upset, I feel as if I’m not able to cope. My hubby said I’m strong and I’ve been through a lot, he’s certain I can jump pass this next hurdle in my life. InshaAllah, I can. But it just breaks my heart to pieces to hear one of my friends from boarding school being terminally ill, yes, at my age. So very young still, as many would consider. Another school friend passed away a couple of years ago, also from cancer. I can’t brush it away anymore like I did 2 decades ago, certainly not. I have to take heed, it’s a reminder. Illnesses and deaths remind us of our temporary existence in this world. One day we too shall perish, sooner or later we don’t quite know.

What do we do in the meantime? We carry on living until our last breath. We do our best in carrying out the roles in life we’ve been carved out to play. We continue to strive for success and happiness. We try to help those around us, we try to be good people. We don’t falter or lose hope. And that’s how I’m going to get through the rest of my life. I shall stay positive, my family needs me. I may be middle-aged, but that’s just a number. I need to stay young at heart, so that I can carry on. There will be thorns here and there, that’s for certain. But I can ride through it, I shall try my best. I shall make the most of my life, no one else is going to do it for me…

With that I end my post. I’m reminded of another favourite of ours at boarding school back in the 80s. Forever young, I want to be FOREVER YOUNG! Do you really want to live FOREVER? The wordings moved me even back then, now it seem very apt. The world we live in today, so much more advanced but still full of pain and suffering. But as Anne Frank (diarist and fugitive of the Third Reich) once said, “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be HAPPY.” Go listen and ponder, a very beautiful song indeed…

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England 1996, my first month away from my homeland Malaysia

grateful heart

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I just celebrated my birthday at the weekend, so close to my 5th decade already! A thought crossed my mind; will I live to see my 50th, 60th, 70th or 80th birthday? Actually something else triggered this line of thought, a visit to my bereaved friend’s place mid last week. She’s a lovely 70 year old lady who I befriended just over a decade ago. We first met at the local library where we chatted casually. She was skeptical however when she learned that I home-educated my children. I remember how she challenged my views, she’s of the old school where there’s only one route to education. However, over the years she’s become rather fond of me and vice versa. As my children grew older she could see that I’ve done a fairly good job in educating them. She respects me for it and I value her wisdom, advice and friendship. She also loves reading, hence our first meeting at the library many moons ago. So you can imagine how well we got along over the years. Despite the age gap, I can relate to her easily each time we met and chatted.

The last time I bumped into her at the library again (late last Autumn), she told me that her husband of 50 years has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was sudden, no one saw it coming. Then we heard of his passing in early January. I managed to pop round to see her last week, she was grateful I came. She was calm but I caught the tears in the corner of her eyes. She told me how her husband refused any further treatments. Her husband had said that he’s had a good long fulfilling life (he turned 87 just before he died). He didn’t want his life prolonged any further. And 50 years of marriage, what more can she ask for? Everyone has to go someday, like it or not. Main thing is to focus on the blessings, the times you’ve shared together. Her words rang in my head for a while afterwards. I hugged my husband tight and cried when I got home. I realised the future is not ours to see, life is like an open-ended storybook. My parents had 34 years together, until my dad too, passed away so suddenly. What about us? What’s in store for us? How long have we got left?

I can worry and wonder all I want, but it wouldn’t do me any good. You can’t go around living your life like that. You’re supposed to take one day at a time. You focus on the present, you live from moment to moment. You be thankful for all the little things that come your way each day. You be grateful that you’re still alive! I’m reminded of my elder sister at this point, yes, I had an older sister who died in infancy. She was named Siti Baizura. My mom used to tell me how fair and beautiful she was, even as a baby. We visited her grave every year on Eid when I was growing up in Penang. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like had my sister lived. But I’ll never find out. My sister died, I was born a year later. I cheered my parents up just by being born, I took their grief away. They never forgot their eldest who died, it was apparent from the graveyard visits. But their focus shifted, they were happy once again and blessed with 3 more daughters!

I end this post with a grateful heart. I cannot foresee my future but I shall focus on the present and learn from the past. I’m grateful for every little thing; the air I breathe, the roof above my head, the food on my table. I’m grateful for the chance to continue living, to love and to be loved. I don’t know how long I’ve got, only God the Almighty knows. But I am ever so grateful for the 48 years I’ve had, I know I’ve been truly  blessed. The miracle of living, to experience a glimpse of heaven on this earth, for that I can only put my hands up and say, Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God)!!! And now let me get back to filling the pages of my open-ended storybook, somehow I’m not so afraid anymore…

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birthday bouquet from my family in Malaysia!

One of my favourites back in the 80s, I think it holds a new meaning for me now….

cameron roses

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Hello again everyone! Apologies for not being able to blog once a week as promised. It’s been a hectic few weeks since we returned from our holiday in Malaysia. Anyway, I’m here now. This time around I would like to blog about Cameron roses. What’s so special about them? Well, I’ve already included a getaway to Cameron Highlands whilst I was preparing my Malaysia trip itinerary. I knew my family would love this place, my own parents took my sisters and I there when we were little. The British discovered Cameron Highlands when they ruled Malaysia, they retreated there whenever possible as it was cooler than the rest of the country.

We had a great time in Cameron Highlands; we visited the Boh tea factory and plantation, the bee and strawberry farms. Will try to blog about them all soon! But right now, let’s focus on those roses. I had wanted to buy Cameron roses, bouquets of them! I had that intention whilst I was outlining my Cameron trip here in England. Which was over half a year before we actually went for holiday. I wanted Cameron roses (about the only place roses grow in abundance in Malaysia) as gifts for my aunties, we were visiting them along the way. Cameron Highlands was the first place we visited during our road trip in Malaysia. The other reason I wanted Cameron roses was to put them on my beloved dad’s and uncle’s graves. I felt so strongly about it, I knew I had to find those roses. By hook or by crook!

I was over the moon when I spotted a few stalls by the road side on the way down from Cameron Highlands after our visit. There were a couple of florists, that was a good sign. But the first one didn’t sell roses. I ran across the road to the next one, I spotted a few fresh bouquets. The Chinese lady thought I wanted one bouquet, I told her I wanted a handful! She was overjoyed she sold me and armful and more! She was about to close for the day so she gave me extra roses at no extra charge. She was just overwhelmed that I had bought so many! Anyway, I ran back to the car to the amazement of my hubby and 4 children. They couldn’t even see me at first, just my arms full of colourful roses. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God) my wishes came true. The Cameron roses were mine in the end, after months of longing. My aunties received them happily. I just wanted them to know I love them always, regardless of the distance separating us. And the Cameron roses laid on the graves, accompanying my prayers for my forever beloved father and uncle, may they rest in peace…❤

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my cameron bouquets, a couple more already been given away

my older two reciting prayers for their beloved grandpa

my older two reciting prayers for their beloved grandpa

cameron flowers for my beloved father

cameron roses for my beloved father

my beloved father, rest in peace

my beloved father, rest in peace

my beloved uncle, rest in peace

my beloved uncle, rest in peace

run to you

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 My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, he is a guiding light whose love show us the way.

My father didn’t tell me how to live, he lived, and let me watch him do it.

my late beloved father, at 17 going on 18 (photo taken on 14/2/1955, Malaya)

my only son, looking more like my father each day

my only son, looking more like my father each day

my father, my son

my father, my son

I miss my late father, very very much. I sometimes wonder is it because he is no longer with us, that I long for his presence? Or is it because I have some regrets deep within me, wishing for the hundredth time for the chance to tell/show him how much he meant to me? I first heard this beautiful melancholy song during my son’s school concert recently. I don’t know why, but my late father came to mind instantly. When I feel bogged down with the strains of life, I wish he was there to pick me up, like he always did. Mind you, my hubby does an excellent job in doing so these days, but the little girl in me still craves for her father. The very first man I ever loved, the one who taught me how to love in return. To love deeply with all my heart, no holds barred! Oh Papa, I miss you so very much!!! But I look at your only grandson now and I see you all over again, Praise be to God! I found some solace in my grieving heart, 13 years on…

EVEN IF YOU CANNOT HEAR MY VOICE, I’LL BE RIGHT BESIDE YOU DEAR

REST IN PEACE PAPA (1937 – 2001)

remembrance sunday

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Greetings everyone! It’s been a while since I last sat down to pen my thoughts. I’ve been a busy bee now that the new school year is in full swing; home educating my youngest two, ensuring my older two are on top of things at their secondary schools, running the household, carrying out my roles as wife and mother the best I can. The weather’s turned wintry here too, it gets dark before 5pm! But it’s not all dull and gloom here, Autumn’s full of events; Halloween, Bonfire Night (a big fireworks display expected where we are this weekend), followed by Remembrance Sunday on the 9th of November. This is the day when they remember those who have perished/suffered in the previous battles, those who have fought/died for their country. This is also a day to commemorate the services of all military personnel from past to present.

On that note I would like to share my son’s recent History school trip to the World War 1 sites, both in France and Belgium. History is my son’s favourite subject, war history in particular. He remembers all the facts by heart from a very young age. A coachful of them took the Eurotunnel Crossing to France and went directly to Ypres in Belgium. They visited both the German and British war cemeteries there. The following day they went to Somme in France to visit the WW1 Trench Museum, where they witnessed the real trenches and battlefields during the war. On the last day, they went into Ypres again to visit the famous Flanders Field Museum, after which they bought some souvenirs before heading back.

My son arrived home safely late that night, laden with Belgium chocolates for us. He only took an old simple camera with him, even the date hadn’t been corrected! Most of the pictures were not very clear, he didn’t mind, the memory of being there is what counts, he said. He felt sombre whilst he was out there, particularly when he saw the tombstones of many soldiers as young as he is. Millions of lives gone within days of the war, so terribly sad indeed. War is never good, there is no winner. I leave you with several images my son captured from his trip. Till next time, have a pleasant weekend…

Courtesy of Google Images – Click image for original source

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A memorial at Essex Farm, Flanders Field, been 100 years since the onset of WW1

Tyne Cot Allied war cemetery, the largest in the world

a tree that was shot at many times during WW1

a tree that was shot at many times during WW1

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Essex Farm Cemetery in Flanders Field

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A memorial at Tyne Cot cemetery

Langemarck German cemetery

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Trenches belonging to the Newfoundland regiment on the Somme

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Flanders field poem at Essex Farm dressing station, the site where it was written

a crater

a crater on the Somme

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dressing station (hospital) at Essex Farm

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The view from Thiepval memorial

another trench on the Somme

Thiepval memorial, Somme

battlefield, now a meadow for grazing farm animals

The small tree on the right was the furthest point some 4000 Canadians got to before being killed

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Sombre mood at Tyne Cot Cemetery

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soldier as young as my son

some goodies for us!

some goodies for us!