I’ve been questioning my mortality a lot lately, and it isn’t a surprise why.
Death and dying happens everyday and everywhere. One wouldn’t really be very concerned unless it is happening to someone they know or love. But at times like this and with depression, it makes me think long and hard about my mortality, and how I should be so lucky.
In 2010, cancer took away from me and their loved ones, 2 very special people- Mr W and Uncle H. They were not related to me whatsoever, but one was a patient-turned-friend, the other a family friend who watched me grow up. With the recent passing of Steve Jobs and a feisty little princess called Charmaine, both of whom succumbed to cancer, it became too unbearable for me. And I cried. I cried then, at the demise of Mr W and Uncle H. Now with Charmaine’s passing, I cried too, for all the lives lost too prematurely.
I should be so lucky. And if you’re reading this, you should be too.
I don’t know what it feels like to fight for my own life, to literally go down on my knees to bargain with God, for more time for my temporary existence in this world. I don’t. But i know what it feels like to want to fight for someone else, but feel all too helpless at the same time. And in a way, I know what it feels like to be in such mental torment. To be torn between life and death, and have the physical body which longs so much for survival, fight a long hard battle against the mind which yearns so badly for annihilation.
It’s true, definitely true, that everything changes once you’ve been, or are deep down in the abyss.
I should be so lucky.
I remember so vividly, Mr W’s sigh in resignation and that look in his eyes, Uncle H’s battered soul and his attempts to seem and be ok, and little Charmaine’s struggles alongside her loved ones who loved her so dearly. It’s haunting, too haunting that as my heart weeps for them, I wish that then, I could take their places for the little appreciation I have for my existence, so that they who deserve it so much more, can have mine. Why them? And why not me?
Then i remember their smiles. Their smiles spoke volumes, and it spoke for everything that they could not find words for. I saw their smiles and heard the language it spoke. I struggled to comprehend these for a long time. But once i did, i had no words myself. I was speechless, and i finally understood what was behind those smiles. Needless to say that from then on, i just wasn’t the same anymore.
What would it take for me to appreciate my existence. and be able to live each day like it’s my last? What would it take for me to bring out the courage, resilience and tenacity in myself? What would it take to smile like i mean it, despite the pain and the fears?
I’ve always known how strong children can be, and as i followed Charmaine’s journey fighting cancer online, it reaffirmed the belief. Kids being kids, are fearless and uninhibited. They have nothing to lose, and so they fight. They fight with all they’ve got. And even if their bodies start to give up, they keep fighting. They keep fighting in spirit.
Dear Charmaine, you are a great blessing to your family and loved ones, and to everyone who knows you. You’ve taught us what it means to live and love, and what it means to fight endlessly. Thank you, precious little one. You’re a fighter.
And i have never forgotten the smiles and laughter of Mr W and Uncle H, and the lessons they’ve taught me. I miss them so so so much.
How fearless and uninhibited would we be, if we knew we could not trip and fall?