Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Saying Goodbye"

Yesterday, National University of Singapore's Associate Professor Ananda Rajah died of an heart attack.
Hundreds flocked to his wake to say their last goodbyes (Huang C 2007, ‘Goodbye, Professor’,
People remembered the popular lecturer fondly.
"I was his student, yet he was my fan," one said.
Saying goodbye. Whether it’s to the dead or dying, it's not an easy thing to do.
Yet, it's a necessary part of life.
Often, the ability to say goodbye well brings resolution, and gives us permission to move on.

My dear friend Angel lost her dad a month ago.
Mr. Koh had dementia and a host of other ailments for five years.
“When they said he might go soon,” she said to me at the wake, “I prayed that God would allow daddy to recognize me, even for one fleeting moment, so I could say goodbye.”
That moment came days before he passed away.
In one of those rare times when he would remember his loved ones, Mr. Koh suddenly recognized his youngest daughter.
And so Angel told him how much she loved him.
How she 'd never forgotten the little things he said, the places he took her to as a child.
How he would always be her daddy.
They had an hour of bonding and saying goodbye.
Then he was off again. He never recovered.
“I miss him badly,” Angel told me. “But I’ve said my farewell."
"I can move on.”

A few years ago, while shopping at IKEA,
I bumped into an old acquaintance.
First question I asked Jan, “How’s your mum-in-law? I heard she’s very ill.” Unbeknownst to me then, Jan and her husband, who's the brother of a friend, had already divorced.
In fact, she'd just come back from overseas where she lived for several years.
Two weeks later, I met Jan again. At her ex-mum-in-law's funeral.
We sat, made small talks; then out of the blue, she touched my hand and whispered, "Thank you.”
It was a god-send that she bumped into me, she said.
“When my marriage failed, I took off and left.
"I didn't say goodbye to her. She'd loved me as her own daughter."
And so for two years, Jan had carried a guilt in her heart.
Until the day we met at IKEA.
That evening, Jan contacted her ex and rushed to the hospital to see the mum-in-law.
"I went there to ask for her understanding and forgiveness.
“But when I saw her frail and kind face," she said,
"I just sat there and cried and cried."
That day, two women said goodbye to one another.
It was a time for grace and forgiveness.
It was a time for courage and healing.
A time to allow each other to move on.


narnianprincess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
narnianprincess said...

hi wrestler. this is narnian princess aka angel.

i had the privilege of ushering both my sister (31 dec 2002) and my dad (22 dec 2006) to the gates of heaven.

where oh where is your sting death? we are more than conquerors in Christ!

love the ocean - God made it for Himself

About Me

In the Old Testament in the Bible, there was a man named Jacob who "wrestled with God and man." He wouldn't let God go until God answered his prayers. God admired that and renamed him Israel, "the one who fought or wrestled and prevailed". He fought with man--his inner man--and conquered his own weaknesses. He's my hero. He is what I hope God and man see me to be.