Brace yourself. This will be one hell of a long entry.
I have finally caught up with my much loss of breath, and able to sit down and look at things more objectively. To be honest, at the moment I am still feeling shaken with the passing of my beloved father, but I have come in terms with what happened, and taking my slow but steady steps to accept the truth. He is no longer with us, and I must do what I can, however I can to walk on.
I have promised in my previous entry that I will elaborate on what actually happened. So here in this entry, I shall do the best I can not to bore you with the details, but knit in the essential parts of the story for you guys.
1) IN THE BEGINNING
My father was born with an unusual heart condition with some arteries being intertwined with each other, creating a massive blood clog that adversely affected the blood pumping efficiency. He underwent a series of torment under such conditions, and only heart surgery can fix the problem. Nevertheless, half a century ago, heart surgery was not exactly a common thing, and people would cringe at the idea of opening up one of the crucial organs in the body that keeps a person alive !! Medical advancement was not up to the level that heart surgeries can be performed at minimal risks, and obviously, it also painfully cost a dozen of bombs.
Numerous surgeries have been performed, and none has helped his heart complications. He was even flown to Singapore and finally referred to Hong Kong for more expert aid in such complicated medical condition. The doctors told the family that he would not survive the age of 18, and the chances of survival for his surgery back then was only 30%. If the doctor told you he would cut your heart open and you have 70% chance of dying, would you take the risk?
For some unexplainable miracle, God has always been gracious and granted my father a chance to live on and he lived through the operation. He has a pacemaker planted next to his heart to regulate the heartbeat. His heart basically was too weak to function effectively on its own, hence the pacemaker was an electronic device connected to the heart to aid in adding pressure to the blood flow, hence pumping the blood more efficiently.
From the given "deadline" at the age of 18, my father has gone through remarkably long life, surpassing the expectations of the doctors. He has got a steady job, married to my mother, had me as a child, and raised this family.
2) THE FINAL HOURS
I was home in Kuching the week before my fathers passing, and he was still completely healthy, or at least not showing any signs of weakening in health. He was in his usual charm and self, still able to chat and laugh hysterically to me and mum. Nothing unusual was suspected. I spent a great deal of time with my family, and returned to Kuala Lumpur for work.
Then on Thursday (7th May) night I called my mum and I could hear his voice shouting in the background, though I could not hear what he was saying clearly. Even then, everything seemed alright.
Then the following morning, as I was on my way walking to the office, I received a call from my mum, with the sobbing tone, telling me that my dad has been admitted to the emergency room. I almost had a heart attack !! My mum said in her mumbling/sobbing tone which I somehow managed to make sense, that father could not wake up that particular morning, my mum tried all sorts of way to wake him, but he was just lying there unconscious.
My heart sank knee deep as my mum was telling me the rest of the details through the phone.
I immediately took the day off and rushed all the way home, packed as quickly and lightly as I can and flew to the airport, and bought the next plane ticket out from KL to Kuching. The soonest flight I could manage to purchase was at 12.55pm, and I unhesitantly took it. The process of waiting was killing me, and just half an hour before the plane took off, I got the final bad news.
My mum called, and told me my dad was no longer with us.
The doctor said his heart just gave up. Just like that.
In just approximately 12 hours ago, I heard his voice loud and clear in the background when I was chatting with mum on the phone.
In just 6 days ago, I was still having lunch with him. I still remembered his last words.
"When are you coming back to Kuching again Robin?"
I said.. "I am not sure.. depends on the availability of cheap tickets."
I still remember his smile to me that day.
Oh father, why did you have to leave us so soon?? Why did you not warn us at all?
I never had the chance to say goodbye. All I have now, are tears for a lost father who has gone to a place that I can no longer follow.
In a way, my heart ached in so many ways that I do not think many of you would be able to imagine.
3) THE AFTERMATH
It was at times like this, that we witness the hand of God, and the bond of family bringing people together, from near and far. My dad has a lot of siblings, and all of them, with their respective families, and even extended ones were present at almost all times, offering support and encouragement to me and my mum. They took charge of almost everything, from funeral arrangements, making important calls, to the published orbituary in the newspaper... the way everyone worked together and did what they could for my dad, was astounding.
Thank God, the funeral, and almost everything else went smoothly without any major issues. The funeral was on Saturday (9th May) 2pm, and there were many unexpected faces, from my dad's old friends as well as colleagues.
This sudden, and unexpected death has brought upon a lot of works that needed immediate attention. For the past following few days, my mum and I have been rushing to places, and settling some important stuff, which would usually follow after such event.
So how am I holding up?
I am ok, I can assure you. I am heartbroken, yes. I am sad, yes. I feel torn, and directionless for a moment there. I do not remember having cried so much in so many years. The death was certainly overwhelming.
I really must Thank God for somehow, handling me the the one miracle week I have had in Kuching. I came back because there were RM9 flight tickets on Air Asia, and I thought this would be a nice time to spend it with family since I have been gone from home for so long. Little did I know, those were the final moments of my dad here with us. I could not have asked for anything more, it was definitely one week well spent with dad.
If I was not home for that one week, I think I must have beaten myself up badly now.
I am letting dad go now. He may have left us unexpectedly, but I am sure the Lord is taking care of him now. After all the labor and hardship he has gone through, especially regarding his medical condition, I am sure he is in a better place.
4) THE THERAPY
Today is the 6th day since the day my father died, and I have finally got the courage to move myself out of the house. It was getting depressing, hence I needed my one and only therapy: SHUTTER THERAPY !!
Thanks very much to Allen, who came responding to my need to go shooting. You may have your ways to deal with your grief, but mine was through photography. It was also soothing to be clicking my camera shutter button again, after not touching it ever since the previous visit home to Kuching more than a week ago.
On photography side of things, all photos were taken with the pancake, Zuiko 25mm f/2.8 lens. I regretted not bringing home the standard kit zoom lens for the wide angle end of coverage, but like usual, I made the best out of what I have, and did what I can to get the shots. Yes, you can use the pancake lens for general walkabout shooting, and it does very good landscape shots too.
We shot at two places just over the sunset, one at the library at Petra Jaya, and another at the river banks overlooking the city from across the river. We arrived at the riverbank a little late, hence the sky was already too dark.
Despite the fact of not having my standard wide zoom lens, I do think the shots come out pretty alright. It is amazing how refreshing it feels snapping some pictures after all those time wallowing in my room.
5) FINAL NOTES
To every one of you who have sent your condolences either in person, through mail, phone-calls, texts, IM chats, and the comments in the previous entry, I sincerely thank you all. Thank you so much for your kind words, and thoughtful prayers, I sincerely appreciate them. In times like this, going through those messages does help a great deal in healing. That meant a lot to me, and again guys, thanks.
To my father, "May you find rest and peace in the hands of our God". You will always be loved and remembered. You will live in me, and your wonder and work will shine through me.
Goodbye, from your dearest son.