MY father knew his time had come. He had asked me to visit him more often – once a week to have breakfast with him. He expressed his wish to see his grandkids. They often played Chinese chess and Scrabble with him and he won on most occasions. My father liked to show off his little magic tricks like making a 20 sen coin disappear and enjoyed watching his grandkids up to their playful and mischievious antics.
He also seemed to be more obliging when it came to taking family photos, when in the past he would express his irritation for such matters. He also updated his diary more frequently, the last entry on June 22, eight days before he passed away.
I still remember the last face- toface conversation we had in the car before I dropped him home after celebrating Father’s Day. “I will take care of myself, don’t worry”, he usually said this to all of us children.
He didn’t want to burden us or have us worry about him. He was an independent and self- reliant man.
On that day, we had planned to have a family gathering in a homestay in Bangsar. My sister and family from Singapore were on their way back. My father was getting ready to leave for my house that morning – his watch was already on his wrist, hair neatly combed.
While enjoying his bowl of oats with coffee an concentrating on his favourite chinese daily Sin Chew Jit Poh, he suddenly went into the presence of God. Just like that. Without any fuss. He left while doing the things he normally enjoyed every morning, savouring his breakfast. We thank God he decided not to go to his usual kopitiam. He may have just collapsed on the street without any loved ones around.
At that time, I was waiting for a friend to view a condominium in Petaling Jaya. My hands trembled after receiving a call from my eld- est sister saying my father had collapsed. I remember asking her “Do you think he’s gone?” and she said “I think so” even though she was still trying very hard to resuscitate him.
In my heart, I knew my beloved father was gone. In the few minutes that followed, which seemed like an eternity, I felt as though time had come to a standstill.
A series of thoughts went through my mind... about the time when I last saw my father, the last words that were exchanged, the last meal we had together and the very last hug we gave each other.
In January last year my mother passed away. The loss of both parents within a short span of time was hard to bear. I felt as if a heavy stone had landed on my heart.
The days that followed after my father’s funeral were most diffcult. The realisation of not being able to see mum and dad or talk to them anymore suddenly began to sink in. I did not remember feeling this way when my mother passed away. Yes, I was sad but I guess there was still my father’s wellbeing I had to take care of then.
Having lost his wife of 57 years, my father carried on, and enjoyed the simple things in life – a bowl of curry mee, bak kut teh, a cup of freshly brewed coffee, the daily newspapers, watching the news on television, reading an article and highlighting interesting points or useful phrases ( he was a journalist and an editor).
He did not ask for or expect anything in return. He gave thanks for every new day of life. Just a few days before he pas d on, my eldest sister took him r a meal Nando’s. He w in his last day
Take care of sure you have rest. Don’t ove Always walk a traffic when o street. Don’t ta mobile phone ing. Make sure are always in si going out. Don’t me, I can handle it. I know what to do. I know when to rest when I need to. These were some of the pieces of advice my father would say to all his four daugthers.
He was a man of few words but he could give an excellent speech on any occasion, be it at a wedding dinner, an opening ceremony, a charity event or at a simple gathering at his Chung Ling Old Boys’ Association. His friends respected him and regarded him as a big brother and mentor. A simple man. A simple life. Dad a l missed