The Cruelty of Life


In just one week, I attended two wakes.

In times like this, I am often overwhelmed by emotions; relating to the feelings of the surviving family members. I remember vividly the feelings of regret, helplessness and grieve; the desire for someone to truly understand how it felt like. However I have no idea what to say or do for my two friends except try to be there for them, because when I was in the same situation, nothing seemed to ease the pain I felt, no matter what people said or did. All I knew was I wanted to let them know that they can come to me whenever they needed someone to talk to.

Today at the crematorium, when I was watching the cold, unfeeling and automated process of the entire cremation, the gush of emotions I experienced two years back came back to me, as though it was happening all over again. I remember that I came to the realization that life is in fact a very simple journey, it’s exactly like a race; you have your starting point, your hurdles along the way and of course the end. I learnt that life is such a fleeting process and that maybe many things we feel important in our lives are not very important after all. Because no matter how you lived your life, we all meet with the very same ending.

I went to my grandmother’s niche after the ceremony. Looking at the photo she asked me to enlarge for her, looking at the engravings of the day she left, it seriously felt as though everything happened yesterday. I realised that apart from the times I visited my grandmother at Mandai, I lacked the courage to look at her photos. I lacked the courage to relive the memories I had with her. I think I simply miss her a lot.

To both my friends, I know that it’s not easy at all. I know it’s all bullshit when people tell you that your loved one would not bear to see you so sad. I know you just need time to say goodbye. So if there’s anytime you feel you need someone to talk to, please let me know. It takes time, but I know you will recover from it, stronger than before.

To Ah Ma, I hope you are doing well and I hope you’ve heard everything I said to you in front of your niche ever since you left. I love you.

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