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Life Goes On

This is a post from a year and half ago. Was feeling a little down over the death of our double heart transplant girl yesterday. 


DURING work at the University Hospital last week, I took a moment at the mortuary. In the lobby stood a lady concealed in an over-sized dark glasses with arms folded across her chest solemnly. Another group of people had just arrived, making their way hurriedly pass the glass door to the reception area. Now I didn't know their stories and their sorrows weren't mine but my heart went out to them. Said a silent prayer for the living and I exited the area not knowing that in a couple of days I'd be rushing through that glass door myself. 

Just less than a year ago, a lady friend of mine had lost her son due to hospital negligence. At 51, she's buried her parents and a 29-year-old son. Burying anyone is not easy but to bury one's own child? That's like against the very order of nature. I guess she was pulling it together with support from her children and dear husband whom she's just lost on Saturday night. In 10 months, while the cut of having to loose her firstborn was still raw, she's lost her husband of more than two decades to a sudden heart attack. A man who'd been her pillar of strength in bad times and a loving partner at all times. So when I went to see her at the mortuary on Sunday morning, I had no words for her. No matter how many times you bury someone, it never comes easy - perhaps it just gets harder with each loss. 

Each loss means one less person to love you or for you to shower love to. I lost my grandma almost two years ago but the reality of it still tugs at me. The sudden and permanent absence of a person who's been there all your life is hard to swallow and I think it never goes away. As the years go by and you see more people fade away from your life, it just doesn't get better. Makes you feel somewhat lonely and fragile when times are bad. At the same time I suppose every death also gives a new meaning to life and helps you see things differently. Personally, my grandma's demise has matured me in some ways. It's been a humbling experience. I've always looked at every funeral in that way and welcomed it as a time to ponder upon life which brings me to the realization that we are all eventually the same six feet under. The living just have too many distractions that drive them into a million separate ways.

When I attended my friend's husband's funeral at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) Muslim cemetery, I noticed Tan Sri(s) and Datin(s) of high places among the people in the hood. Their tombs bore the same difference, below and above ground, with those of ordinary people. My friend's late son's tomb was just two lots away from where her husband's coffin lay, and it was heart-wrenching to see the new widow move from her child's tomb to witness her husband's burial. I couldn't imagine what it must've been for her at that point. 

Yet the real process of dealing with death only begins when you've cast the last lump of soil onto the burial ground and head home. A burial gives closure but by the end of it, you are left on your own to find a personal closure.  It's a long, arduous process with memories rotating in your mind like a 3D slide show. There may be regrets, could-haves and what-ifs but healing's not easy and there's no waltzing your way through it. Death is a mystery but life is a puzzle that can be sorted out.  Sooner or later, there'd be a new hope, a rainbow at the end of a tunnel. 

"I'm still trying to stay strong for my kids," says my friend. 
I guess that's how life rolls.


  1. This post moved me so much Jaya. You're right, for anybody to have to bury their own son is just unfair, life can be so cruel at times. Death and the mourning that follows it is such a hard thing to comprehend and deal with, I can't even begin to imagine the pain.

  2. Yeah who knows why life is such miserable thing sometimes, no one should have to bury their own child. Now I must go back to rhyme town, so I no longer feel down.

  3. The death of a child must be agonizing. It makes you wonder how parents coped in the days when infant mortality rates were high. Maybe they had large families and accepted that not all would make it to adulthood. It's interesting that Charles Darwin found the death of his daughter particularly devastating.

  4. I find it amazing how we cope, carry on and deal with such loss – and with some losses so much harder to bear than others.

  5. I am not sure I could bear losing one of my children.

  6. I've only had to bear with the loss of my Grandfather and my Uncle.

    Both were very uncomfortable and unhappy ceremonies. :(

  7. My heart goes out to that poor woman. Beautiful post.

  8. oh my gosh! I have a friend who lost her 2 yr old daughter about 5 yrs ago....she was overwhelmed with support from the church and the community 5 yrs ago...seems we all forgot she carries her grief everyday.

  9. Death has always been a hard thing for me to deal with, lost a lot of friends from car wrecks to cancer, it never gets easier

  10. Death is cruel, o so cruel. I lost my grandmother a couple of years ago and I, too, still don't fully realize what it means to not have her around me anymore. It's so easy to just Hey that's life, get over it, you sissy but when you really think about it, about what it means that this person you loved and still love isn't there anymore, ever, well, it really doesn't make my day, that's for sure. So every day I contact the people I love and visit them whenever I can.

  11. Death is an evil bastard. I'm not a fan. I find it difficult. As Woody Allen said "I'm not scared of dying, I just don't wanna be there when it happens"

  12. Gosh, sad indeed :( Hope you're feeling better today!

  13. OMG Jaya, this post really moved me.. feeling pretty disturbed and feel bad for ur friend.. hope she finds the strength and courage.

  14. Jaya,

    At 51 years old I have lost enough people dear to me, and it started some years ago. It made me write this, it helps sometime:

    Love your blog and your sensibility. Its no wonder, we read much the same people :-)



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